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Development of technology demonstrators for the next generation of traction systems and adhesion management systems - S2R-CFM-IP1-01-2018
Deadline: Apr 24, 2018  

 Clean Transport
 Urban transport

Specific Challenge:

There are two main specific challenges concerning traction systems and management of wheel/rail adhesion.

1. Traction systems

The Traction Drive sub-system is one of the main sub-systems of a train as it moves the train converting energy from an electrical source (directly or via a chemical source) into a mechanical one.

The physical domains to master are multiple: electrical, mechanical, thermal, and control. A large number of norms and regulations have to be taken into account for traction systems design, manufacturing, validation and certification. The challenges, at this point, are:

 to master technologies breakthrough developments like Silicon carbide (SiC) semi-conductors applied to different railways traction applications and wheel independent rotating wheels for high-speed trains (HST);

 to develop and contribute to implementing new methodologies, tools, norms & standards of noise, reliability, virtual validation and certification, smart maintenance.

These challenges were preliminarily undertaken by previous projects ROLL2RAIL30 and PINTA31 at low TRLs. In the AWP 2018, the developments shall reach higher TRLs.

2. Adhesion

The wheel-rail contact is normally not only a great source of uncertainty in the prediction of braking distances, but it can constitute a general bottleneck for the achievable braking effort of the train – and to a substantial degree for the tractive effort as well. Due to environmental as well as technical issues, the properties of this rail-wheel contact are highly variable. This affects a large number of rail traffic characteristics, like headways, punctuality and especially safety. The challenge is to develop a proper mapping of different adhesion conditions occurring in rail traffic, and the investigation of the effect of methods to modify basic adhesion, in order to achieve optimal traction and braking effort in the future.

This challenge was preliminarily undertaken by previous project PINTA (S2R-CFM-IP1-01-2016) at low TRL. In the AWP 2018, the developments shall reach higher TRLs.

The ongoing work in PINTA is expected to deliver by the start date of the present Research and

Innovation activities the following expected results:

  •  specifications on five applications (tramway, metro, sub-urban, regional and high-speed trains (HST)) both for new solutions and refurbishment markets, including traction spare parts obsolescence management. The update of marketing needs on all five targeted applications (tramway to HST);
  •   new hardware and software traction components and sub-systems (especially Silicon Carbide based but also independently rotating wheel architecture for HST) customised for different market segments.

  •   methodologies and tools for noise emission prediction and reduction (noise levels and tonal noise, electromagnetic, aerolic and EMI noise) for traction sub-system, components and parts (ex.: fans) in all phases of vehicle use including parking mode.

  •   methodologies and tools to increase traction system reliability and smart maintenance.

  •   methodologies for virtual validation and certification of traction systems, as well as tools for Traction KPIs and Traction local performance indicators quantification by simulation of energy consumption.

  •   pre-standardisations for new solutions & new technologies-adhesion

  •   adhesion management tools and solutions for braking to map different adhesion conditions occurring in rail traffic. The activities contribute to the formulation of new performance specifications for Adhesion Recovery Systems. Requirements for Wheel Slide Protection (WSP) test procedures followed by new specifications for Automatic Test benches.

In order to address the challenges described above, the proposals should address all the following work streams, in line with the S2R MAAP:

1. Traction (TD1.1)

  •   Traction solution developments : Based on experienced gained in and the expected results

achieved by the start of the present activities in PINTA , the development of new hardware and software traction components and sub-systems (especially Silicon Carbide based but also independently rotating wheel architecture for HST) customised for different market segments (urban, regional, HST) should reach TRL5 to6. The Independently rotating wheel architecture should focus on low floor solutions.

The Traction solution developments will include the development of solutions for energy savings as well as specific maintenance solutions for train applications (Condition Based Monitoring of traction components, remote diagnostic, on-board and/or off-board software, etc.), leading up to the preparation of “smart-maintenance of traction systems” application to be implemented into the S2R Traction demonstrators.

The LCC definition and KPIs quantification will require cooperation between consortium partners and in particular between manufacturers and operating companies.

Identify and –propose measures to address possible barriers to innovation implementation (norms, cultural habits, etc.). Continue test bench tests and assess their results on the S2R and PINTA defined KPIs (Capital cost, maintenance cost, energy cost, reliability, weight, volume, noise of traction system and/or traction components).

The work should include the development of prototypes of inverter blocks in SiC-technology for Urban AC- and DC-lines, with improved high reliability and prepare propulsion system tests to validate the results on the KPIs.

The work should also be the continuation of the development of the SiC Traction on Regional train application and HST motor wheel completion.

  •   Traction Noise : Based on experienced gained in PINTA and FINE-1 (S2R-CFM-CCA-02-2015), continue to develop and implement methodologies and tools for acoustic noise emission prediction and reduction (noise levels and tonal noise, electromagnetic, aerolic and EMI noise) for traction sub-system, components and parts (e.g. fans) in all phases of vehicle use including parking mode.

Realize a traction motor cooling prototype design for low & optimized acoustic noise with a target of verifying the new design in lab environment (TRL4).

Continue further improvements on EMI emissions of urban traction systems with SiC converters. Validate traction converter EMI noise simulation compared to prototype measurement.


 Traction Reliability/availability: Based on the results of the first phase of PINTA, Continue to develop methodologies and tools to increase traction system reliability, availability, in particular, use real operator data and return of experience as much as possible.

Continue further improvements in converter reliability concerning SiC modules, reduction of traction failure, smart maintenance and generic approach due to digitalized system features.

Implement a proof of concept for a “data observation system”, dedicated to gather Traction system and components variables (ex : current, voltage, operating temperature, vibration, etc.) and process them by specific algorithms to point out failures before they could happen.(TRL3). Extend it from propulsion related components also to train control components.

 Traction virtual validation & certification: Based on the experience gained in PINTA (like requirement specifications for virtual validation tools and concept specification for simulations; first proposals of new methodologies for validation), continue to develop the methodologies & tools for virtual validation and certification of traction systems, with the ambition to apply SIL tests (Software in the Loop) to cover the complete traction control system and combine with vehicle level TCMS.

 Pre-standardisation: Based on the experience gained in PINTA (first progress towards more standardization on –for example- virtual certification, virtual validation , predictive maintenance data transmission, Traction Life Cycle cost validation) continue to perform pre-standardisations task for new solutions & new technologies (e.g. new insulation material, sensors network, etc...), prepare normative evolution via cooperation with S2R Cross Cutting Activity Area “Standardisation” and all needed normative bodies.

2. Adhesion (TD1.5) :

The work should include the further continuation of adhesion data collection with an innovative method/ device (search for available methods/ devices has been done in PINTA) that could be developed and/or tested, expected low TRL level like laboratory prototype (TRL2-3). This would be a continuation of PINTA.

Development of adhesion management product and/or system prototypes up to TRL5-6 for braking and traction in order to handle different adhesion conditions occurring in rail traffic, e.g. by positively influencing the wheel/rail contact. Basis for these developments are the proposals for normative changes defined in PINTA.

These could for example comprise real-time adaptive algorithms of the wheel slide protection system (friction brake/ ED-brake) improving the control dynamically based on the experience gathered within PINTA. The adhesion related knowledge also gathered during the previous PINTA project should be used for the development in order to optimise operational cycles in future rail traffic (e.g. by guaranteeing reduced braking distances).

In order to benefit from the shorter braking distances, an analysis of the impact on rail operation (TRL2-3) should be done. The developed solutions for handling of challenging adhesion conditions could be also assessed concerning their compliance to performance specification for Adhesion Recovery Systems defined in the project PINTA (S2R-CFM-IP1-01-2016).

 In view of the above, available results of the Shift2Rail project PINTA (S2R-CFM-IP1-01-2016) shall be the basis for the following research and innovation activities.

The action that is expected to be funded under this topic will be complementary to the actions that are expected to be funded under the following topics:

 S2R-CFM-CCA-01-2018. Virtual certification & Smart Planning

As specified in section 2.3.1 of S2R AWP for 2018, in order to facilitate the contribution to the achievement of S2R objectives, the options regarding 'complementary grants' of the S2R Model Grant Agreement and the provisions therein, including with regard to additional access rights to background and results for the purposes of the complementary grant(s), will be enabled in the corresponding S2R Grant Agreements.

The action shall actively contribute to the S2R KPIs development. This shall lead to publicly available deliverable, quantified indicatively on a semi-annual basis.

The planned activities of the action should take into account the revised MAAP part A. The S2R JU will only fund one proposal under this topic


Expected Impact:

The previous S2R Lighthouse project Roll2Rail and PINTA project (S2R-CFM-IP1-01-2016) have defined seven Traction KPIs (capital cost, maintenance cost, energy cost, reliability, noise, weight, volume of traction sub-system) directly linked with S2R KPIs. The long-term quantified performance targets have been described.

The most significant quantitative benefits of the present Action brought by new technologies, methodologies and simulation tools developed within this action will include the regular quantification of Traction & Adhesion KPIs improvements progress toward previously described targets:

  •   A reduction of the traction system validation/certification duration and costs through simplification, harmonization of rules and replacing very expensive "on site" certification tests through more cost efficient simulations and/or static bench tests;

  •   A reduction in maintenance costs, thanks to high reliability and “maintenance oriented design” components and traction sub-system hardware completed by smart maintenance;

  •   A potential increase of line capacity thanks to low noise traction & improved adhesion management systems shortening braking distances of trains.

  •   A reduction in traction energy consumption thanks to the use of higher energy efficiency technologies, significant weight reduction.

  •   Traction & Brakes Noise reduction thanks to the application of methodologies of noise emission prediction, new low noise solutions on Traction components and new brakes solutions on adhesion management;

  •   Further important impacts can also be expected in the domains of train capacity thanks to traction components volume savings.

  •   Finally, the Life Cycle Cost will be reduced thanks to a specific focus –in complement with energy and maintenance- on the reduction of capital cost of the Traction & Adhesion management systems.

The research and innovation activities results shall be brought in the form of a demonstrator in the context of InnoTrans 2020 that it should be specified in the answer to the call, including on the S2R JU stand.

Type of Action: Research and Innovation Action

Public link:   Only for registered users

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