Scharfenberg digital coupler selected under the DAC programme

European Digital Automatic Coupling Shift2Rail announced that a Scharfenberg latch type design was selected for the future European Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) standard for European rail freight transport.

This is a milestone in the process that, during the next phases, will lead to the final design of the selected coupler head, ensuring interoperability and operational performance free of licenses. The decision of the Supervisory Board of the European DAC Delivery Programme is the result of a transparent process started this year with the definition of the criteria for the selection process and a series test campaigns conducted on a series of couplers’ heads, and will feed into the proposals for the Technical Specifications for Interoperability revision in 2022.

In the next phase, specific solutions will be presented by the three involved manufacturers to cover the remaining other DAC requirements and DAC Life Cycle costs will be determined. Through this, the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP) will further develop the DAC specification and compatibility/safety interfaces, later resulting in product pilots and TSI requirements, and follow-up open points relevant for serial production.

Following test campaigns conducted this year, the prototypes for two Scharfenberg type designs and one Schwab type design were presented by the participating manufacturers Dellner Couplers AB, J.M. Voith SE & Co. KG and Wabtec Corporation. One SA 3 design was withdrawn earlier from the process. Around 100 EDDP experts from 36 companies assessed the results of two test consortia (the DAC4EU funded by BMVI and Trafikverket/Swedish Winter Tests funded by S2R) and of previous Shift2Rail works in dedicated workshops for each coupler end of July 2021.

All three manufacturers participating in the current test programme are competent in latch type couplers and can boost further development. More manufacturers will join the process in the upcoming stages, all aiming at establishing the European Digital Automatic Coupling standard and enabling the introduction of DAC in Europe.

The DAC4EU consortium comprises Deutsche Bahn and its subsidiary DB Cargo, SBB Cargo, Rail Cargo Austria and the wagon keepers Ermewa, GATX Rail Europe and VTG. BMVI awarded the consortium a contract to conduct the DAC Demonstrator for Rail Freight Traffic project. The BMVI has allocated approximately EUR 13 million in funding to the research project, running from June 2020 until December 2022.

Under the DAC Winter Tests, all DACs are tested under Swedish winter conditions, including telematics in winter 2020/21, organised by Trafikverket in partnership with Green Cargo. In November 2020, Green Cargo started the digital automatic coupling tests performed in marshalling yards and on several rail sections in Sweden.



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