Pantograph innovations increase the efficiency of railway transport

Mar 22nd, 2012 | Category: Articles, Current Issue MT, March 12, Products & Technologies

Increasing the traffic speed and the need for space on the roof of electric railway vehicles have made specialists dealing with electric power conversion to determine modules that will integrate the functions of different components of the classical power supply system.

The French have recently developed an integrated and compact system called “Pegase” (“All in One”) aimed at answering roof space requirements. With the help of this system, components such as switches, relay switches, air compressors etc. are no longer assembled one by one, but reassembled in multifunctional modules. This permits the limitation of the number of components and creates more space on the roof of the vehicles. The “All in One” system will not only save space on top of the roofs, but will also reduce the weight of rolling stock and will cut costs due to functional integration.
According to specialists from Faiveley Transport, the new system is 2.3-m long, twice less than conventional systems measuring around 5 m. Mass reduction is also significant reaching up to 20-30% of the mass for a system that weighs nearly 1 tonne. The system also includes several components: pantograph, compressor, voltage changeover equipment,  lighting arrester, electromagnetic unit command, cables, traction elements and vibration insulating components.
“The Easyswitch module, assembling the functions of the lighting arrester, current system selection device, joint and pantograph bearer, switches from 200 – 250 kg of components to 92 kg. This system has already been tested for high-speed trains, thus being ready for implementation on regional trains and trams. France was the first country where this module was implemented on trams”, declared  Setha NET, Product Communication and Technology Manager, Faiveley Transport, France.
More compact auxiliary compressors also permit a mass gain of 45 kg by shifting from the air dry technology to the air separation technology. Technical studies show that this system has limited functions compared to the conventional system, but meets the functional requirements of the equipments. This product is mostly useful for rolling stock where the lack of space is a limiting factor.
Also, a 10-20% reduction of the pantograph mass can be obtained by using other materials and revision   of the upper and lower arms.

Antifreeze devices

The freeze of the overhead line is a serious problem affecting the transmission of the power to railway vehicles. To ensure a continuous passenger transport, a solution proposed by pantograph manufacturers is covering the overhead line with an antifreeze device.
The system has two components: one is a device inside the vehicle and the other is a pantograph whose contact conveyor is replaced by a lubrication device. “The application is ideal for temperatures of 0 -15 0C and is considered a preventive measure which maintains its effect for 2 to 3 days. There are several advantages, such as uninterrupted traffic, uninterrupted pantograph – catenary contact, avoiding electronics damages and lower costs for replaceable materials, 20L/100 km respectively”, declared Birgit Mantke – Flehmig, Pantograph Department, Stemmann Technik GmbH.

[ by Teodor Turcu ]

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