GCF acquires PAI-PL branch from PSC Group
Major strengthening in the security technology sector.
GCF's acquisition of the PAI-PL business unit from PSC Group S.p.A. was completed in recent days. A multimillion-dollar transaction that allows Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie to strengthen and consolidate its role as a player in the railway safety technology sector.
Initiated in January with the stipulation of a lease agreement, the transaction concluded today allows GCF to acquire full ownership of a qualified technological business unit specialized in the design and implementation of Automatic Integrative Protection - Level Crossings (PAI-PL) devices.
"This is an important operation," explains engineer Mattia Baraldi, director of GCF's IS Technology, Tlc, R&D, and AT Divisions, "that allows GCF S.p.A. to integrate skills, reinvigorate production facilities and, above all, expand its portfolio of offerings in the railway signalling sector."
GCF's IS (Signalling Equipment) Technology Division Catalog, in particular, will integrate the LCP (Level Crossing Protection) System: a proprietary SIL 4 system from GCF, deputed to the automatic protection of level crossings by means of radar technology devices capable of detecting any obstacles within the level crossings and intervening, interacting directly with the signalling system that manages rail traffic, blocking incoming rail convoys, to guarantee the safety of vehicles trapped on the tracks and the trains themselves.
Eng. Baraldi continues, "Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie S.p.A, which designs, engineers and manufactures its PAI-PL systems in-house at its Rome and Pistoia facilities, thus becomes one of the key players in the sector in which major investments are planned by both RFI and the main concessionary railways."
The acquisition of the PAI-PL Branch enabled GCF to take over a 9 million contract for the supply of 81 PAI-PL radar technology systems and to be awarded by RFI a Framework Agreement worth 15 million for the "supply of technical assistance services, maintenance, repair, installation, upgrades and reconfiguration of GCF S.p.A. proprietary technology systems present on the RFI Network."
More tenders and contracts are on the horizon, in a security challenge that has both RFI and the major concessionary railways engaged.
According to data released by RFI in April on the occasion of World Day for Level Crossing Awareness, there are about 250 accidents that occur on average each year at level crossings with serious or fatal consequences in 10 percent of cases, while there are more than 2,600 cases of people being on the tracks or along the line, resulting in about 200 deaths or serious injuries.
To address the problem, at the behest of ANSFISA, the National Agency for Rail and Road and Highway Infrastructure Safety, the FS Group has launched - in addition to an awareness campaign on rail safety - a major Investment Plan that, at the forefront in Europe, envisages in ten years both - where possible - the progressive reduction of the 4,135 level crossings present in Italy, as well as the massive adoption of integrative technologies for obstacle detection, PAI-PL devices to date based on laser or radar technology systems, such as those produced by GCF.
"The goal," Director Baraldi concludes, "is now the further strengthening of GCF's IS Division, also by injecting new high-level expertise, to increase GCF S.p.A.'s relevance in the field of technologies deputed to railway safety."