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INTEGRATED STANDARD TRANSPORTATION UNIT for self-guided freight container transportation systems on rail (ISTU)

Final Report Summary - ISTU (Integrated standard transportation unit for self-guided freight container transportation systems on rail)

The ISTU-STREP project investigated, developed and demonstrated a cost effective integrated propulsion unit and an individual self-driven two-container, cost improved rail platform wagons for freight container transport between ports and cargo distribution centres. The new motor concept integrating all major propulsion features is a key technology suited for the designed harbour vehicle called ISTU.

Major objective was to design and / or specify on base of a practical driving cycle for two-container wagons such platform for terminal applications based on a speed of 12 kM/H and a maximum speed up to 50 km/h. The project has optimised and designed the complete vehicle system, i.e. all electro-mechanical components, including a diesel- electric power supply unit to provide an autonomous integrated electrical propulsion system.

As a second target, the project integrated for the mentioned application all main propulsion components such as motor, power converter, cooling and embedded controllers in one unit. With this propulsion rated at 30 kVA it was expected to create the basic drive component for the container platform with improved characteristics as reduced cost (by 30 %), efficiency increase by 2 % and system availability up to 98 %, validated by a laboratory set up.

A first prototype of the integrated drive called IPMOT confirmed the technical features and revealed some improvement possibilities with regard to the overloading characteristics of such motor. In a further redesigned and completed product, we integrated these features by smaller changes in the winding layout. Parallel the full vehicle was designed, a proper diesel-electric power supply unit chosen and all components integrated in the vehicle structure.

Additionally, this drive have been analysed for road operation which is another even more demanded alternative from the market. The engineering for a rail vehicle is actually validated in a test belt although the simulated results are demonstrating the targeted values already. Dissemination has been done on several conferences and will be expected in the World Cargo News.

German company ITAPS (Innovative Trade and Product Strategies) has developed with different international partners from industry and research, a new AGV concept for road and rail applications that has potential for container terminals. ITAPS was set up to bring Polish and West-European companies together, to develop new ideas and products in various sectors including transport and logistics. In 2003, ITAPS received EU funding to 'investigate, develop and demonstrate a cost effective integrated propulsion unit for individual self-driven container rail platform wagons for freight container transport between ports and cargo distribution centres'.

The vehicle is called the 'Integrated standard transportation unit' (ISTU) and is designed as an alternative to conventional locomotive-pulled freight for rail applications on rail, for drayage between cargo distribution centres and in port container yards as an AGV. A major part of the research project was to design drive components suited for hybrid application which is expected to be more cost and eco-efficient, fuel efficient and reliable than what is available today on the market. ITAPS has developed an integrated motor concept (IPMOT) that is similar to the once used in the latest hybrid cars but with high overloading capabilities. With this technology it is expected to reduce the pollution in modern harbours. With our future hybrid concept and this motor, AGVs will overcome the inertia of a heavy load even with nearly half the power of today diesel engines. The new electric propulsion concept has been developed based on switched reluctance motor technology - an AC motor with no windings or permanent magnets on the rotor which gives a high reliability to the product. With a 80-100 kW engine a low-speed rail application, where the load on a two-axle ISTU is limited by the 22.5 t axle load, can be realised. Within partnerships between ITAPS and companies from Poland and the Czech Republic the ISTUs and AGVs will be produced.