Introduction of ECM certification at Liebherr

Liebherr manufactures rail-road excavators and does so very successfully! The excavators, which can travel on both rail-ways and on the road, are built by Liebherr-Hydraulikbagger GmbH. Over 200 A 922 Rail and A 924 Rail models of rail-road excavators are manufactured here every year. That makes Liebherr the market leader in the specialist rail-road excavator sector.

A specialist sector? Definitely, because the machines have several special features. The area of operation for rail-road excavators is the rail network, which is very busy in most countries. A great many companies compete to use the same tracks. The track network does not end at national borders and international train traffic must be maintained (inter-operability). In addition, there is a good deal of public interest in railway traffic as many rail networks are state-owned and are used to transport both passengers and (hazardous) goods. The fact that railway traffic is so important is demonstrated quite clearly by legislators issuing regulations for both people and machines.

Liebherr is proud to announce that it has successfully completed its own ECM certification!

The EU Commission issued a new regulation in 2019. Regulation (EU) 2019/779 or the ECM Regulation, as it is commonly known, is designed to enhance safety for rail traffic. The regulation obliges vehicle owners to guarantee that their machines operate safely.

An accident with consequences

There was a serious railway accident in Italy in 2009. A freight train transporting liquid butane exploded and caused very serious damage. The cause of the accident was a crack in a rail wheel which had not been noticed during a previous inspection.

ECM (Entity in Charge of Maintenance)

The ECM is the body responsible for the maintenance of a vehicle. Every machine must be assigned an ECM in the vehicle register so that the vehicle can be operated on the rail network.

Call for maintenance management

Regardless of the responsibility of the railway company and infrastructure operator to ensure safe railway operations, the party responsible for maintenance, the ECM, was also held responsible. A maintenance management system was implemented to ensure that the ECMs could guarantee that their freight wagons would operate safely. In view of the massive differences in design and maintenance methods, this maintenance system had to be a process-based system.

The vehicle owners become the entity in charge of maintenance as soon as they are entered as the ECM in the vehicle register. Acting as an ECM means that the owner is responsible for implementing a maintenance system which guarantees the safe operating condition of the rolling stock and therefore makes a major contribution to railway safety. The vehicle owner must clearly describe the responsibilities and defined the processes within the company.

Describing a company as an ECM and taking responsibility for designing a maintenance management system are defined in Regulation (EU) 2019/779.

Implementation regulation requires certification

After the rail accident in Italy, the subject of safety on the rail network became so controversial that Regulation (EU) 445/2011 was issued. This required a maintenance management system but the regulation only applied to freight trains. To enhance the safety levels of railway traffic even further, the old regulation was revised and extended.

The new Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/779 was issued in 2019 and contains the following amendments:

About Regulation (EU) 2019/779

1. Subject matter and scope (Article 1): Probably the most important amendment concerns, based on Railway Safety Directive (EU) 2016/798, recital (34), is the extension of the ECM Directive to cover all rolling stock which operates on public railway networks. This therefore revoked the restriction of the regulation to freight wagons. However, the regulation contains exemptions.

2. Certification system (Article 2) – dealt with in Article 3: All ECMs must be certified by 16 June 2022. Vehicles which are not assigned to a certified ECM can no longer operate on railway networks. Other bodies involved must at least be audited by an ECM.

The purpose of the certification system is to provide a framework for harmonising requirements and methods to assess the ability of entities in charge of maintenance across the Union.

Regulation (EU) 2019/779 of the EU Commission, point (2)

3. Safety-critical components (Article 3) – dealt with in Article 4: The new regulation transfers responsibility for handling the safety-critical components to the ECM. This means that responsibility for documenting the safety-critical components is placed in the hands of the manufacturer and the entity in charge of maintenance.

In summary, the new Regulation (EU) 2019/779 extends its validity to all rolling stock operated on public rail networks. In addition, a certification system, in which the maintenance processes are audited, is compulsory for all ECMs. Regulation (EU) 2019/779, also states that safety-critical components must be defined and communicated by the manufacturer.

Duties of ECMs

  • An ECM must be entered in the vehicle register for every vehicle
  • Each ECM is responsible for the safe operational condition of its rolling stock
  • The ECM must introduce, verify and implement a maintenance management system
  • The maintenance management system is regularly reviewed and certified by the Federal Railway Office or a recog-nised ECM certification body
  • Contents of the maintenance management system:
    • Description of relevant processes and procedures which cover all the maintenance work
    • Implementation of the requirements set out in Regulation (EU) 2019/779
    • Assignment/allocation of clear responsibilities
    • Implementation of a risk management system within the organisation and also for all related companies (suppliers and service providers)
    • Preparation, update and archiving of maintenance documents for the entire service life
    • Comprehensive exchange of relevant information
  • The duties are divided into four ECM functions: Management function, maintenance development function, fleet maintenance management and maintenance provision function

The specific requirements, evaluation criteria and duties of the ECMs are set out in Annex III of Regulation (EU) 2019/779.

Introduction of ECM certification for Liebherr rail-road excavators

Regulation (EU) 2019/779 applies to rolling stock which operates on the national network. It does not cover underground railways, trams, private railways or historic railways (see Regulation (EU) 2016/798, Article 2). This means that Liebherr rail-road excavators are covered by the regulation in various European countries such as Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, etc. Some non-EU countries, such as Switzerland, have also based their legislation on this regulation.

Certification: Completed!

Liebherr-Hydraulikbagger GmbH and Liebherr sales, rental and service partners in Germany and Austria are officially certified as from June 2022. The Liebherr sales and service organisation in the Czech Republic (Liebherr-Stavební stroje CZ s.r.o.) has held certification since December 2021.

Liebherr maintenance management system

  • Liebherr-Hydraulikbagger GmbH and Liebherr sales, rental and service partners have introduced the maintenance management system which complies with Regulation (EU) 2019/779.

    Liebherr-Hydraulikbagger GmbH and Liebherr sales, rental and service partners have introduced the maintenance management system which complies with Regulation (EU) 2019/779.

  • Customer benefits from the certification

    Available for advice and assistance

    Available for advice and assistance

    Liebherr-Hydraulikbagger GmbH acts as a consultant for its customers and assures the quality process.

    Premium service guaranteed

    Premium service guaranteed

    Liebherr sales and service partners are entitled and trained to carry out repairs, annual inspections and revisions on Liebherr rail-road excavators.

    Rental rail-road excavators

    Rental rail-road excavators

    Liebherr-Mietpartner GmbH and Carl Beutlhauser Baumaschinen GmbH are certified as ECMs and can rent out rail-road excavators.