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NEXT generation methods, concepts and solutions for the design of robust and sustainable running GEAR

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NEXTGEAR (NEXT generation methods, concepts and solutions for the design of robust and sustainable running GEAR)

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2022-02-28

The project contributes to the development of the next generation of running gear. With respect to the overall Shift2Rail goals substantial “reduction of Life Cycle Costs (LCC)” respectively “improved reliability and energy efficiency”, WP1 updates the Universal Cost Model (UCM) based on the one from the Roll2Rail project to judge the economic impact of bogie innovations, which basically means the influence on the LCC. In WP2 activities are carried out to achieve lower bogie weight which reduces wheel-rail forces and energy consumption and/or to allow for higher payload which increases capacity. Lighter vehicles risk causing a deterioration in the level of ride comfort or noise attenuation compared to today’s designs. Therefore, in parallel, active control strategies are developed. The concepts for hybrid composite/metal wheelsets developed in WP3 have the potential to significantly reduce the wheelset weight and contribute to lower LCC.
The project has made very tangible technical achievements related to the Shift2Rail goals mentioned above. An ATP aerial bracket for additive manufacturing was designed manufactured and mounted on a Metro Madrid trainset. The weight of the component could be reduced by 60% compared to the existing one. Similarly, the best of the three composite wheelset concepts developed in WP3 would lead to a 60% weight reduction of the wheelset. Further, in WP2 an innovative single axle running gear with carbon fibre composite material bogie frame and active suspension has been developed that promises a weight reduction of 400 kg/m compared to the existing Metro Madrid vehicle. The bogie frame has been manufactured and tested in the laboratory. Since new lighter vehicle concepts often need active suspension to achieve as good or even better running behaviour as today’s vehicles, active suspension concepts are developed. Specifically, a high safety integrity level (SIL4) controller has been designed and manufactured. A test system has been set up to allow a vehicle model to be controlled in realistic ‘Hardware in the Loop’ conditions. Results show that the controller can run at close to the frequencies required with SIL4. In the same task a new type of actuator including a spring has been developed and tested in the laboratory indicating very promising performance.
As mentioned above, the Universal Cost Model has been updated both with regard to the technical content and with a completely new user interface. One of the main contributions of NEXTGEAR to the upgrading and simplification of the UCM is the inclusion of Switches and Crossings in the infrastructure cost estimation tool. Baseline cases have been created and simulated, and the tool has been demonstrated with specific innovation cases.
In the UCM all modules are enhanced, and the usage simplified. The economic benefits of bogie innovations can be determined in a way that is not possible today. This in turn makes it easier for operators of rail vehicles to accept and implement innovations which often is one of the issues in the sector today.
In parallel in WP2 and WP3 innovative bogie and wheelset components based on new materials and new manufacturing methods have been developed that significantly reduce weight and in turn LCC of a rail vehicle. This will enhance the competitiveness and make rail transport even more environmentally friendly. Further, the vehicle concept with a simplified bogie layout is demonstrating that also conceptual lightweight design can have a great positive impact on weight and LCC.
The development of a controller and a new type of actuator will provide the railway industry with new components that have a great potential to improve the running behaviour of rail vehicles and increase attractiveness.
In the project not only concepts but also prototype solutions are developed that can be adopted after the project is finished. This provides the European railway industry with new possibilities for state-of-the-art vehicle design. The proposed solutions also open up for new companies that are not active in the railway sector today. We are here thinking of additive manufacturing, design and manufacturing of composite bogie frames or wheelsets or companies developing controllers and actuators for other applications today.
Additive manufactured aerial bracket
Three concepts developed for a composite railway axle
NEXTGEAR prototype high safety integrity level controller
Carbon fibre composite axle frame Finite elemnt analysis
NEXTGEAR project structure