Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG uses ZARGES roof access stands to perform maintenance work on their e-bus fleet.

Individualised access solutions, tailored to the specific requirements for work on E-buses.

Electromobility is talked about as an effective way of fighting climate change and air pollution in cities. Public transport plays a decisive role in this regard. In 2019, there were already 838 e-buses in use across Germany, according to the e-bus radar of consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. As at January 2020, nine fully electric buses (i.e. not fitted with hybrid drive) are already on the roads of Cologne. For the maintenance of these vehicles, Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG (KVB) have chosen the Weilheim-based ZARGES to provide customised access solutions that are tailored specifically to roof work on e-buses.

The KVB has been using e-buses for public transport since 2016. For regular maintenance of the buses, the KVB decided to use ZARGES stationary roof access stands and mobile access steps with platform. "While visiting a workshop overseas, we got to take a look at a ZARGES roof access stand, which at that time immediately won us over with its versatility and adaptability. The subsequent planning and cooperation also went smoothly from the very beginning, such that our order was delivered after just a short while. Currently, we have already installed three ZARGES roof access stands in our workshop," says vehicle maintenance foreman Gerd Schieffer.

Customised access solutions for new e-buses

Spanning 18 metres, the roof access stands were customised for the KVB to fit the entire length of the e-buses. Owing to their modularity, the roof access stands are extendable and can be either raised on stands or suspended from the ceiling. Their adjustable height and the wide range of accessories and expansion options available for them also mean that they are more versatile in use. "Thanks to their modular design, we are able to modify or expand them as required, thus allowing the KVB to adapt the access stands to suit the conditions at any given moment," says ZARGES Product Manager Martina Moritz.

Benefits in use

The solutions previously used by the KVB for roof work required workers to put on personal protective equipment (PPE), meaning their use involved a great deal of hassle. "Because work needs to be done on the e-buses' roof, such as maintenance of the air-conditioning system, we wanted a new access solution that can simplify our daily work," says Gerd Schieffer. Once at the top of the roof access stands, the user is able to access the entire length of a bus easily without PPE. Unlike with a mobile platform, the person no longer needs to climb up and down the stands to reposition them, therefore saving a significant amount of time. Furthermore, the stands are fitted all-round guardrails to ensure safety during work. The roof access stands comply with the latest version of all relevant technical standards: DIN EN ISO 9001 (quality management), DIN EN ISO 14122 (permanent means of access to machines), and DIN EN 1090 (execution of steel structures and aluminium structures).

Does great height necessarily mean great risk? Not with ZARGES

"It is really something special to be part of such a forward-looking topic as electromobility, albeit on a small scale. We are always open to new trends and will continue to work closely with the KVB in future in order to play our part for electromobility," underscores Martina Moritz. Likewise, the KVB is further expanding its effort: the company plans to have an all-electric bus fleet by 2030.