Alstom to Acquire Bombardier Rail Business in Global Expansion in Transportation Markets

French rail equipment giant Alstom, whose products and services include large permanent-magnet motors and generators for global transportation markets, is reaching out to North America to acquire the worldwide rail equipment business of Bombardier, based in Canada. Meanwhile, Alstom is also applying its capabilities in motor technology to more e-mobility markets. 

Acquisition price will be about of €6 billion when the Alstom-Bombardier deal closes, expected to occur in the first half of 2021. Both companies produce full railroad and transit systems. For Alstom, the deal accomplishes a leap in growth and geographic penetration, while Bombardier plans to focus on its executive jet business. Also, Alstom is intent on broadening its business into more e-mobility markets. It recently delivered its first series-production electric bus, supplied to the city of Strasbourg, marking its entry into the commercial automotive market. 

Alstom is a preeminent rail equipment player with an industry-record backlog of €40bn and €8.1bn of annual sales. Not as widely known, however, is its prowess in the design and manufacturing of permanent magnet motors (PMM). 

The company is an acknowledged forerunner in PMM technology has a high-performance and economical innovation increasingly adopted by regional trains, tram trains, trams and automatic metros, as well as high speed trains. The advantages of a synchronous PMM stem from its lighter weight and compactness compared to asynchronous motors, which, together with a higher power-to-weight ratio, provide vehicles with higher performances for reduced operating costs, notes Alstom. Maintenance requirements are also reduced thanks to the PMM working as a closed motor, removing the need for a fan and preventing the effects of externalities such as pollution, dirt and extreme weather. 

For nearly a century, Alstom’s expertise in motors has been developed in its technical center in Ornans, France and it also as motor engineering and production facilities at its plants in Hornell, New York and Xian, China. The company manufactures about 6,000 motors per year, also provides maintenance and rebuild services. 

Winding of an Alstom motor in China 

Its motors range from 50 kW to 1600 kW to suit all types of rolling stock and now electric buses, too. Generators are also part of the Alstom portfolio, covering 300 kW to 800 kW for regional and locomotive applications. The motor series include both asynchronous and synchronous PMM technology, in closed or open configuration. In addition to serving its own platforms, its motors and generators can be fitted to non-Alstom rolling stock. Its advanced PMM motors yield up to 15% energy savings for a train and are 30% lighter compared to asynchronous motors, says the company. 

January marked a milestone for the company as it delivered its first 100% electric Aptis bus to the Strasbourg transport operator. At the time, Alstom said that it constituted a major new step for the company as it aims to be a leading innovator in sustainable, smart mobility. Its facility in Ornans is producing the motors.

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