Unipart Rail and Gripple to launch new tool to speed up overhead line electrification equipment installation

2 min read

Rail industry supplier Unipart Rail has formed a new partnership with Gripple to launch an innovation for the rail industry which promises to speed up the installation of electric overhead line equipment (OLE) on rail lines.

With the new Gripple Rail Dropper OLE installations can be completely streamlined, according to Unipart, so that fully conductive catenary droppers can be installed up to eight times faster than traditional rail cable droppers.

The Gripple catenary hanger design enables the quick and easy installation of each dropper, which can then be adjusted left and right along the messenger wire in seconds, using the lockable release cams. This rapidly increases the speed and efficiency of both installation and repair, reducing time spent working at height, therefore reducing overall safety risks.

Established in 1989, Gripple has grown to be recognized globally as a world-leading manufacturer of wire joining and tensioning systems, delivering suspension systems across a variety of sectors including construction, geotechnics, agriculture, and seismic/blast protection.

The launch of the new Gripple Rail Dropper marks its first steps in the rail sector, however, the firm’s engineers have been designing and manufacturing innovative solutions for overhead suspension since 1998, and offer a wide range of hangers including a robust line of tensionable catenary systems and “droppers” which share many similarities with the Rail Dropper system.

By working in collaboration with Unipart Rail and utilizing its knowledge of the global rail sector, Gripple is looking to apply the same technology and engineering expertise which has allowed it to transform the building services suspension market to rail OLE systems – improving safety, installation speeds and efficiency.

The new Gripple Rail Dropper will be officially launched in September. In addition to the dropper, Unipart Rail is also working on a wider range of future innovations and solutions for OLE, designed to increase efficiency and save time, labor and costs.

Jake Rudham, marketing and new products director at Unipart Rail, commented: “Unipart Rail is delighted to be working in partnership with Gripple and to support them on their journey into the rail sector by becoming their distribution partner for the new Rail Dropper, which will deliver time, labour and cost savings across the industry. Driving and delivering innovation is at the forefront of both of our businesses and we are excited to be working together on this new innovation, which will change the face of OLE installation.”

John Butterworth, head of infrastructure products at Gripple, added: “As the world-leading manufacturer of wire joining and tensioning systems, we are excited to bring our latest innovation to the Rail industry in partnership with Unipart Rail. Delivering time-saving, simple, problem-solving innovation to customers worldwide is in our DNA, so we look forward to the launch of our innovative Gripple Rail Dropper to deliver health and safety, time and cost improvements to new customers in the area of OLE installation.”

This video shows how the new Gripple Rail Dropper outperformed traditional methods when tested on-site with Network Rail recently.