The railway rolling stock industry is becoming more and more important within the European sphere particularly because of the increased congestion of roads. There are currently major investments being made to improve the railway network and high-speed train infrastructures (14 Trans-European transport Projects). It is important for high-speed rolling stock manufacturers to innovate their processes due to competition from Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
To have a chance of success, the new generation of rolling stock needs to have a higher level of quality and an economic advantage in terms of price. The latest generation of wagons, 27.000mm sideframes' length, distort up to 50 mm from true, which is unacceptable because of the needs for an aerodynamic profile. Modern railway waggon car body structures are built with sheet metal sandwiches, supported by cross members made of folded profiles, joined mainly by welding operations (spot, MIG/MAG). Welding operators need to work very closely to carry out welding operations, which is a difficult task. Better quality can be reached thanks to the repeatability of highly precise welding robots. Programs however, need to be adjusted to the actual work piece geometry by a sensing system.
This project focused on technology transfer based on a recently finished BRITE EURAM Project, whose topic was to realise a novel welding system and develop a range of measuring subsystems for detecting the position of the work pieces in robot cells for special car-body designs. B&C and APS jointly developed this technology for the automotive sector and the aim of this project was to adapt the technology for rolling stock production. The technology included position detection of work piece and of jigs in the robots' working space; feature detection of design elements such as windows, doors, corrugation of the sheet metals, detection of TCP (Tool Centre Point) and automatic adjustment.
The integration of APS's innovative laser based sensors into B&C's robot enabled automated assembly of wagon shells possible for the first time. This was tested in the construction of three different versions of the Pendolino at Fiat (Italy). The massive Trainsrail work cell, which can accommodate up to three carriages at a time will soon be available to other rolling stock manufacturers. It would improve the competitiveness of the European rolling stock industry, giving economical advantages in terms of price and capital allowance, and has the potential to accelerate production throughout Europe.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
10043 Orbassano Torino