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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NEXTGEAR (NEXT generation methods, concepts and solutions for the design of robust and sustainable running GEAR)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-11-30

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 quite some progress during the first year. Agreed with Pivot-2 an ATP aerial bracket for additive manufacturing was designed and manufactured with a weight reduction of 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. Further, in WP2 an innovative single axle running gear with composite bogie frame is developed that promises a weight reduction of 400 kg/m compared to the existing Metro Madrid vehicle. The design of the bogie frame is finished, and it will be manufactured soon and then tested in the laboratory. Since new lighter vehicle concepts often need active suspension to achieve as good or even better running behaviour as todays 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. Initial results are promising to 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 is developed indicating very promising performance.

Universal Cost Model concepts for the updated modules are in most cases ready and will be implemented and tested during year 2. Interviews with stakeholders – mainly from Pivot2 – have been caried out to even better understand the needs of the designated users of the UCM.
In the UCM all modules will be enhanced, and the usage simplified. When the tool is ready the economic benefits of bogie innovations can be determined in a way that is not possible today. This in turn will make 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 are 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