Locomotives get lightweighting treatment


Lightweighting is a priority in the automotive sector but now the railroad industry is also thinking more seriously about weight reduction programs for diesel trains in order to reduce fuel consumption, costs and carbon dioxide emissions. At the 2012 JEC trade fair, Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany) presented a newly developed sandwich material based on the Baypreg polyurethane spray system that is well suited for diesel engine enclosures.

The finished component is 35 percent lighter and 30 percent less expensive than its steel-and-aluminum counterpart. The enclosure is located beneath the train's passenger compartment and above the tracks. Because it has to protect the engine from rock impacts, the it must be able to withstand high mechanical loads. The chemical resistance requirements are also exacting, as the component should also be able to prevent oil from leaking onto the track bed. The greatest challenge, however, is compliance with the strict fire protection requirements according to the European standard CEN/TS 45545. The composite material featuring the polyurethane spray system easily meets all of the requirements mentioned above.
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