Dellner is the world leader when it comes to manufacturing train connection systems, and SSAB is an expert in crash safety. Together they are developing new products where the energy-absorbing characteristics of steel help ensure high speed trains and other modern railroad cars are safer than ever before.
Dellner’s products can be found on all continents and in all types of railroad cars, but competition is tough. There is constant pressure to continuously develop better, safer and more efficient equipment.
“That’s one reason why we wanted a development project where our product developers, steel specialists at SSAB and one or more train makers, could join forces,” says Bo Dagvall, head of technical systems at Dellner. “There are lots of examples that demonstrate such investments can deliver amazing results – just look at today’s automobiles.”
It is no surprise that he uses the auto industry as an example, since that is where SSAB actively pursues the development of effective, passive protection systems. Its Domex structural steel absorbs energy and ensures a stable chassis.
This fall will see Dellner continue development of its D-BOX concept, an integrated safety system for rail transportation
“The key benefits with D-BOX are that the parts involved create a holistic solution that solves both small and major problems for traffic corporations,” explains Fredrik Lundberg, key account manager at Dellner.
Above all, it is about ensuring passengers do not suffer injury in the event of an accident. The key to success is to combine the energy absorption element with a stable inner construction, which protects travelers.
“It costs a lot if a train is affected by chassis damage during a collision,” says Lundberg.
“That’s why our concept contains energy-damping modules that are so effective that they can take the entire impact at slightly lower speeds.”
The first step in the safety system comprises gas-hydraulic absorbers and/or rubber-based parts, which dampen lighter impacts. The forces resulting from bigger impacts are absorbed by deformation tubes and honeycomb parts that deform but protect the basic structure in the railroad car frame. After changing the damaged parts, the railroad car can be speedily put back into traffic again.
“The energy-absorbing characteristics of our Domex structural steel hugely benefit such components,” says Göran Uhlin, project manager at SSAB business development.
SSAB has already given Dellner clear competitive advantages. The coupling flap at the front of the world’s fastest train, the Alstom AGV, is the result of the combined strengths of both companies. The new high speed train is currently undergoing speed
trials in Italy. The top speed is 357 miles/ hour (575 km/hour), but when used in real life traffic the top speed will be limited to a more modest 224 miles/hour (360 km/ hour).
The weight-bearing design behind the nose element on the locomotive is solely made of advanced high strength steel. The locomotive mechanics are both stronger and considerably lighter than comparable designs. The first prototype already weighed 40 percent less than the original proposal.
The demand for less weight has driven development towards ever more high strength steel in modern vehicle designs. Now even leading train manufacturers are seeing the advantages of lighter designs, such as less wear on the tracks, the possibility of carrying more passengers, and faster start and stop times.
The faster a train goes, the more stringent are the demands on both signaling systems and railroad cars. Fredrik Lundberg describes the next step in the development: “If we look at the various units that we make ourselves, such as coupling units, dampening parts and anti-climbers, there are fixed norms for the product characteristics. But if we also look at related safety products, then there are opportunities for even better solutions.”
“We are convinced that joint product development is the right approach to develop tomorrow’s trains,” says Bo Dagvall. “When we have defined the goal, we jointly create completely new prerequisites for those who later take part in the development effort.”
SSAB is a world-leading producer of high strength steels. SSAB offers products developed in close cooperation with customers, in order to create a stronger, lighter, and more sustainable world. SSAB has employees in more than 45 countries, with production plants in Sweden and the United States. SSAB is listed on NASDAQ OMX Nordic, Stockholm. www.ssab.com