Composites lighten the load in monorails


Thermoset composite parts in monorail trains have the potential to reduce weight significantly as evidenced by development work and commercialization of components by Malaysian processor DK Composites Sdn. Bhd. (Melaka).

In partnership with Gurit GmbH (Kassel, Germany) and its Australian subsidiary, together with Umeco (Warwickshire, UK), DK Composites has developed a series of glass-reinforced composite panels for users in Malaysia and India.

A ceiling, seat and apron door for Mumbai Monorail. The ceiling adopts a sandwich construction made from a phenolic/glass prepreg —offering fire retardant properties while delivering the target weight—and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) foam was developed. A vacuum-infused epoxy/glass laminate was used for the molding process. The ceiling weighs in at 413 kg per train carriage, representing a 53% weight reduction versus an aluminum composite panel with a tubular steel frame. The ceiling meets British Standard BS 6853 for fire/smoke/toxicity requirements. Development started in June 2010 and it was commercialized in February 2012.
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