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Home > Case Studies > Trailers > Road Rail: FS70 & FS100 Dampers

The implementation of a road-rail system can save thousands in capital costs, yet requires skilled engineering to perfect.


Road-rail technology is very useful to major rail companies in the US and involves designing and customising a range of general purpose plant machinery (such as a heavy dump truck) or specialist utility vehicle (such as a cherry-picker). These road-going vehicles are fitted with bogies on the front and rear of the vehicle which enable them to be used on railway lines. Railway lines are often the preferred method of travel over roads as roads are less direct and have the potential to be more problematic. Considering the huge distances travelled by these vehicles, the distance and fuel savings may be considerable as well as the benefits of avoiding congested areas.

Our customer currently fits out a range of vehicle sizes and types using our R-flex suspension units. However, the weight limit on our current suspension range was limiting the use of these units on greater masses. The customer was instead using conventional suspension systems. This meant that our task was to review our current offering and ultimately design heavier duty units. However, the usual theory of making a unit larger will increase maximum load was not applicable here due to a mandate that the physical size of any new heavier duty offerings must be able to be utilized in similar configuration as is adopted currently, with the limiting factor being the railway track width being a fixed geometry.

Solution:
The new requirements placed upon us meant we had to evaluate our product range, with a view to extending the family to the double the mass load capability from 5,000 to 10,000kgs, whilst still complying with special restrictions.

We achieved this by upgrading our materials, both metallic and rubber mix compounds as well as maximising geometric sections which were not previously fully utilised. A full finite element analysis has been carried out together with prototype builds that have been statically tested in order to gain convergence of results and confidence in the products developed.

This solution will not only give our customer harmonization of their own product range & reduced inventory but, because our suspension units have far fewer moving parts than their current solution, reliability is increased and maintenance is reduced while at the same time capital costs per unit are less.

We expect the first units (Our FS70 & FS100 units) to be be trialled in the summer of 2014 with new builds being fitted with this solution by the end of the year.

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Waterloo Industrial Estate
Waterloo Road
Bidford on Avon
Warwickshire
B50 4JH
United Kingdom
Tel+44 (0)1789 778 041 Fax+44 (0)1789 490 331 [email protected]