Summer season is travel season and trains are the greenest means of public transport. The latest trends in railway coatings contribute to the environmentally friendly character of train travel.
Rail travel has come a long way since the first train ran from Stockton to Darlington in September 1825. Railways have spread around the world and trains have become ever more comfortable, faster, and more technologically and optically advanced. The same is true for the coatings which protect them inside and out. Today, you can catch a train to countless destinations whether you make a journey across the continent, commute to work, or take a tram to your favourite café in town. According to Eurostat, 8.2 billion rail passengers were recorded in the EU in 2019, and 399 billion tonne-km of freight were transported by rail in the EU.
A means of design and functionality and safety
Railways are the safest and most ecological mode of public transport for passengers and for cargo. People generally assume that a perfectly coated train is safer than a train with faded or peeling paint or one covered in graffiti. And this assumption is not far-fetched: Coatings are not only a means to apply a smart design, they make a significant contribution to the functionality, durability and value retention of rail vehicles.
Rail vehicles and their coatings have to withstand a lot of stress. They are in constant use. They are exposed to all kinds of weather from extreme summer heat and UV radiation to harsh winter weather. And they have to be resistant against aggressive detergents including graffiti removal which is particularly hard on the coating. In the long run, corrosion leads to lasting damage, which can result in the failure of important train components.
Furthermore, specific railway coating solutions like the assortment from KANSAI HELIOS group fulfil highest requirements for the fire behavior of materials and components of rail vehicles according to the standard DIN EN45545. Fire-resistant materials and products in railway vehicles significantly reduce the likelihood of fires and effectively contain the spread of smoke and flames. This crucial measure extends the evacuation time for passengers and staff, ultimately leading to the preservation of lives. In addition, coated surfaces are the basis for safety-critical bonding processes of items such as windows and entire heads of passenger railcars take place.
On track towards more sustainability and cost reduction
Modern railway coatings are equipped with many features to protect rail vehicles from such stress: anti-graffiti properties, high colour retention, stone-chip resistance, resistance against detergents and chemicals, and of course, high corrosion protection in all weather conditions.
KANSAI HELIOS invests much time and effort in R&D to develop products for all requirements. The focus is on environmental compatibility and the reduction of energy consumption. The outstanding quality and durability of our coatings is certified by the numerous approvals of many major railway operators across Europe and beyond.
Ultra high solids reduce strain on the environment
KANSAI HELIOS ultra high solids (UHS) coatings are a perfect example to show that ecology and economy can go hand in hand – without compromising the protective performance. Polyaspartic UHS products, for example, have a solid content of up to 90% and very low VOC emissions. Another essential advantage of UHS are the short drying times at low temperatures which accelerate the coating process significantly. The latest UHS products dry within 60 minutes at room temperature while waterborne coatings – also an environmentally friendly and durable product – require temperatures of about 50°C for 3 to 4 hours. This means that UHS coatings reduce energy consumption considerably and result in lower CO2 emissions and lower costs.
Anti-graffiti coatings: innovative and tough
Graffiti can be art, but on trains it hardly ever is. Graffiti has to be removed, and this is a costly problem for all rail operators from city trams to high-speed intercity trains. The Berlin S-Bahn (suburban train), for example, spends around EUR 1.2 million a year on graffiti removal. If a train with eight coaches is covered with graffiti on both sides, it takes five people and 80 working hours to remove it. Often, the original paint of the vehicle is affected by the process and needs to be repaired.
KANSAI HELIOS has developed an anti-graffiti coating system consisting of primer, waterborne base coat, and an innovative and extremely tough anti-graffiti clear coat that prevents graffiti paint from seeping though to lower layers and is particularly resistant against harsh detergents. The Berlin S-Bahn has tested this system over a period of five years with excellent results. After numerous graffiti removal procedures and wash cycles the coating is still perfectly intact. Thus, maintenance costs are reduced and less frequent re-coating also reduces the strain on the environment.
To achieve a perfect finish on all interior and exterior surfaces of a rail vehicle, many different products are needed: liquid coatings, powder coatings, UHS systems, e-coats, sealants, putties, adhesives – you name it. All these products have to be compatible with each other and ideally be of exactly the same colour and gloss. KANSAI HELIOS has it all. As a system supplier it is a one-stop shop offering a product range which comprises all the materials needed for a rail coating task. The advantage for our customers: all products from liquid to powder and putty can be combined with each other and colour and gloss always match perfectly. Furthermore, KANSAI HELIOS offers technical support for all products and helps customers find the optimal combination for each individual coating task.
Explore KANSAI HELIOS Industrial Coating solutions under www.kansaihelios-industrialcoatings.com.