INNOVATION

Innovation Topic
    Advancements provided by NEXTGEAR contribution
Universal Cost Model 2.0
The importance of establishing a methodology which is valid, accepted and used among rail stakeholders in Europe is paramount. It is the way to allow for bogie innovations to enter the market with demonstration -and not only claim- of a superior LCC efficiency when the rail system as a whole is considered. ROLL2RAIL provided a very good first version of this UCM that has already been used and has proven to be valuable tool for different stakeholders. However, the tool as it is at present requires additional efforts in order to be more user friendly and more complete. Some of the modules need and update, others should be added, and additionally work is required in order to prove the effectiveness of the UCM model with end user real cases such as the evaluation of technical alternatives in a tender process for new rolling stock
Optimised Composite materials
It is a fact recognised for many years that a huge potential would come from the use of novel materials and manufacturing methods to produce lightweight, flexible and robust running gears. There are, however, significant barriers to the adoption of these new materials and methods. The carbody so far is the structural part in which new composite materials and production techniques have been introduced in commercial vehicles. Despite of the work carried out in projects such as REFRESCO, Roll2Rail or RUN2Rail, the work proposed by NEXTGEAR is required in order to establish solutions and manufacturing techniques for running gear components at TRL 4-5.
Control technology
Active suspensions are still not considered to become a standard equipment on current, or the near future, running gears. The only solution widely accepted is related to tilting trains combined in some cases with lateral secondary suspension centring systems, both being slow active secondary suspensions. Ongoing projects like RUN2Rail and PIVOT, are building up a better understanding of the actual problems and offer some solutions further developing findings from older projects such as the Mechatronic Train project. Primary active suspensions face the problem of proving fail-safe operation. Reliable actuators are required which can fulfil very demanding requirements (size, weight, force, fail-safe operation, maintenance). The problem of finding active solutions in order to optimize the primary suspension for stability on straight track and wheelset guiding in curves to increase train-track friendliness is still an open subject that NEXTGEAR will address.
Future wheelsets
Train weight increases both fuel consumption, track forces and in turn track damage. Reducing the weight of the wheelset is vital as this will directly imply a reduction of the non-suspended mass. Moreover, having a lighter axle the dynamic forces on the bogie frame would be lower and therefore contribute to a lighter bogie. As a reminder, the bogie represents more than 1/3 of the total weight of the vehicle. NEXTGEAR proposes a hybrid metal-composite wheelset, replacing the conventional steel axle by an innovative one made of composite material and devising proper interfaces of the composite axle to other metallic parts such as wheel rims, brake discs or bearings.

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