Manufacturers help drive Pennsylvania’s economy, with approximately 14,475 companies across the state employing 760,875 workers, according to industrial data provider MNI. Here, we hear from Alan Hamilton, vice president of Equipment, Services and Component Engineering for Wabtec, about the company’s proud history as a high-tech supplier for the freight and rail industries, and the importance of manufacturing today.
Since 1869, Wabtec has been at the heart of the manufacturing industry. Tell us how the company got its start in western Pennsylvania.
Wabtec’s vision is to revolutionize the way the world moves for future generations. It all started more than 150 years ago, when George Westinghouse introduced the air brake. This invention transformed the rail industry and helped drive economic growth worldwide by enabling railroads to safely move more people and products on longer trains at higher speeds. Building on this deep heritage of breakthrough ideas and company success, Wabtec continues to pave the way for modern safety advancements and set the bar for innovative solutions. Whether it’s positive train control, advanced diesel-electric locomotives, battery technology or robust software and analytics, Wabtec is at the leading edge of innovation for the industries it serves.
Describe Wabtec’s operations and global presence today (locations, facilities, workforce, etc.).
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Wabtec has operations in approximately 50 countries with approximately 25,000 employees worldwide. Wabtec is a leader in providing locomotives, components, PTC, and digital solutions to the rail industry. Today, there are about 23,000 Wabtec locomotives moving more than 20 percent of the world’s freight. Wabtec’s braking systems, doors and other systems are installed on virtually every transit train globally.
Wabtec is building upon the foundation laid by Westinghouse by continuing to bring new innovations to the transportation market. Tell us about some of these product lines.
Wabtec’s focus is on driving productivity and sustainability for customers. Innovations are designed to reduce CO2 and other emissions, while improving economic viability and reducing operating costs. That focus has positioned Wabtec as the leading global provider of equipment, systems, digital solutions and value-added services for the freight, transit, ports, logistics, mining, industrial or marine industries. The company’s locomotives are best-in-class products that deliver unmatched reliability and efficiency.
Wabtec’s new FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive is the world’s first 100-percent, battery-powered locomotive. It will play a major role in advancing the rail industry’s sustainability initiatives by reducing fuel consumptions and carbon emissions.
On the transit side, Wabtec has 15 product lines with new generation of brakes, doors, air conditioning, couplers, passenger information systems that generate significant savings for transit authorities. The new Green Friction product is a next-generation product that reduces particle emissions from braking by more than 90 percent. This greatly enhances air quality in subway stations and in tunnels. Those are just a couple to the innovations Wabtec is developing for customers to provide both economic and sustainable benefits.
Manufacturing is the economic engine that drives the Pennsylvania economy. What is Wabtec doing to advance STEAM education and skills training in our region?
Wabtec has a long history of partnering with the community and local universities to inspire and prepare future generations to pursue a profession in engineering and manufacturing. In recent years, Wabtec and Penn State have partnered on several strategic endeavors including recruiting efforts and research with the College
of Engineering on the optimization and management of energy storage systems. Wabtec also partnered with Penn State Behrend for the last 10 years across Western Pennsylvania to create a week-long science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) camp. The free program, which engages middle school girls, is focused on encouraging a lifelong interest in subjects ranging from robotics, electronic circuits
and chemistry to energy management and more. Since its inception, more than 400 girls have participated in the program. These collaborations provide a win-win relationship for Wabtec, the universities, the community and the industry.
What does “MADE IN PA” mean to Wabtec and its workforce?
As a Pittsburgh-based company, Wabtec is proud to be part of Pennsylvania’s rich history of innovation and manufacturing. Wabtec will continue to build upon the “MADE IN PA” tradition as the company develops new solutions that drive sustainability and cost savings for customers.
For more information, visit wabteccorp.com.