Rail transport stays on track with Ansaldo STS’ ERSAT satellite system

Transport infrastructure is much more than just a maze of railways and signals – it defines how people move around the world. Italian signalling expert Ansaldo STS is working to develop solutions that breathe new life into the sector

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When Ansaldo STS landed in Copenhagen almost 20 years ago it created the first driverless, 24/7 metro system in transport history

With more than 160 years of history, Ansaldo STS is a company at the forefront of signalling technologies, safety systems and freight solutions. We move people and goods around the world, and we do it safely, quickly and with respect for the environment. However, our company is much more than that.

Our DNA is written by a long sequence of committed professionals who deliver a wide range of innovative solutions to our ultimate client: the people. This is our natural attitude, this is how we perceive our duty, and this is the goal that guides every employee when performing any task.

Ansaldo STS is widely considered to be a global leader across a variety of fields within the rail transport industry. We specialise in all aspects of construction, railroad engineering and management, and characterise ourselves as being turnkey railway constructors, as well as automation and signalling experts. More recently, we have also become active in the operation and maintenance field.

Revolutionising the commute
Giovanni Ansaldo founded Ansaldo STS in 1853 in Genoa. The core business at the time was to build locomotives and trains; today, our company is a multinational player in the transport industry and a part of the Hitachi family, providing solutions around the world from our base in Italy.

And it was here, in the bel paese, that we first applied our expertise in signalling technologies. In Italy, we designed, developed and installed the highest-speed line signalling system in the country. It was a great success for the company, but an even greater success for commuters: everyday, around 170,000 people use these lines to reach their homes, offices and destinations.

In 2017, Ansaldo STS completed the implementation of 14 driverless metro projects across the US, Peru, Denmark and Saudi Arabia

The impact of our work is extraordinary, helping tens of thousands of people in their daily lives. But if we also take into consideration what we do for local transportation, the numbers reach even greater heights. It has been estimated that, in Italy, around 2.67 million passengers travel on metro lines every day.

Ansaldo STS is proudly present in five of the seven Italian cities where such metro systems operate: Rome, Milan, Genoa, Naples and Brescia. Working in this environment gives us a tremendous responsibility to all of the commuters, passengers and businesspeople that rely on our services and pass through the full spectrum of ‘iron mobility’.

Global connections
As proud as we are of our achievements in Italy, it has been thrilling to be able to expand globally, taking on a variety of complex projects in many different countries. In 2017, Ansaldo STS completed the implementation of 14 driverless metro projects across the US, Peru, Denmark and Saudi Arabia, among others. We also built a freight line with new satellite capabilities on an iron ore mine in Australia. The Roy Hill freight line will transport 55 million tonnes of iron ore, from mine to port, along a 350km railway every year. All of this has been achieved while building a high-speed line between Milan and Genoa in our home nation.

As a matter of fact, our horizon and business perspectives have widened continually, mainly thanks to the endless opportunities presented by the transportation industry. Like any successful company, Ansaldo STS focuses on delivering what people need. Throughout our history, we have undergone several major structural changes in response to a number of large-scale mergers and acquisitions.

However, this has only driven us to consolidate our resources and embark on international expansion efforts to help as many people as possible. Unlike many industry competitors, Ansaldo STS has 40 regional offices in 26 countries, with domestic footprints in Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. We are witnessing significant growth in Africa and South America, too.

Thanks to the work of our dedicated and enthusiastic workforce, comprising 4,200 employees, we have been very successful in transferring our technology to the rest of the world from our base in Genoa, implementing hundreds of projects to date. The development of the transportation industry means new ideas and suggestions are constantly being injected into the market, so it’s important to keep pace. Fortunately, Ansaldo STS’ transition into the Hitachi Group in 2015 has put us in a strong position to compete: being part of the Hitachi family means being part of a game-changing organisation with widening horizons and
endless business opportunities.

Ansaldo STS’ Roy Hill freight line in Australia will transport 55 million tonnes of iron ore, from mine to port, along a 350km railway every year

Next stop: sustainability
With the help of the Hitachi Group, Ansaldo STS is broadening its horizons, moving towards multimodal solutions and a full-service operations approach. In order to succeed, we have defined a new, ambitious strategy that sets out our vision and goals for the coming years. That said, signalling technologies will remain at the core of what Ansaldo STS delivers, and we will continue to ensure our capabilities and technologies are the most up to date and relevant on a market-by-market basis.

The numbers suggest Ansaldo STS is the highest-performing firm in the railway business, with an annual turnover of approximately €1.4bn. We are able to remain at the forefront of our industry because we build solid partnerships and, most of all, develop bespoke transit solutions. Nearly 20 years ago, Ansaldo STS landed in Copenhagen, creating the first driverless, 24/7 metro system in transport history. We are still there today, building new lines and operating local transport services via Metro Service A/S, a company that Ansaldo STS owns a 49 percent stake in. This transport system serves approximately 60 million passengers each year.

Following our success in Denmark, we applied our driverless technology expertise in Riyadh, Rome, Milan, Brescia, Taipei and Honolulu. But this was only the beginning: we have now established ourselves as a global leader in the development of automation technology. Working in partnership with the EU has enabled us to develop and implement a system that can effectively control pick-up and delivery train routes using innovative satellite technology, known as ERSAT. Having leveraged our experience in Australia and conducted tests in Sardinia to develop ERSAT, we are confident this technology will prove successful.

Our ability to design and develop new solutions for transport is of great importance, as is our approach to the environment. At Ansaldo STS, we believe it is our duty to play a direct role in protecting the Earth by finding the right balance between profit, people and the planet. In order to do so, Ansaldo STS complies with all local laws and regulations, as well as voluntary sustainability guidelines.

Further, we are dedicated to maintaining transparency throughout all our operations and adhering to corporate social responsibility on a voluntary basis. In this regard, we publish a comprehensive sustainability report each year, detailing the various elements of Ansaldo STS’ commitment to sustainable governance. Such initiatives, coupled with our market-leading expertise in transport solutions, ensure Ansaldo STS keeps everyone on the right track.