As with many other sectors, the rail industry has an increasing emphasis on reliability, availability, and connectivity to ensure maintenance and operational costs are optimized. It needs to develop robust and aerodynamic rail car designs that provide comfort and safety to the passengers. To succeed companies must exploit CAE as early as possible in the process to drive decision making and deliver designs on time, on target, and on cost.
Digitalization has also emerged as a key driver for innovation in railways. It provides significant opportunities to streamline operations, improve reliability of assets, and enhance passenger (or freight customer) experience while reducing costs. It is being used to derive real-time information on rail movements and is an enabler of predictive maintenance for fixed assets and rolling stock.
Maximize Reliability, Availability, and Desirability
Drivers and Passenger Environment: Competition in the rail industry requires constant innovation to make the passenger experience more pleasant and convenient. The advanced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) analysis of Altair® OptiStruct® is used broadly to ensure the passenger experience is enhanced, and quality is further addressed by Altair® Squeak and Rattle Director™ Altair CFD™provides solutions engineers need to design better passenger compartment airflow and thermal comfort.
Optimize Connectivity and Operational Costs
Network Connectivity: Equipment connectivity and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is essential to today’s rolling stock, and can be optimized with Altair® Feko® and Altair® Flux®. Feko is widely for the design and placement of antennas and modeling wave propagation for network simulation. Feko can also simulate both the radiation and irradiation of cables, antennas, and devices to inform the design of effective shielding. In addition, Altair® WRAP™, a Feko component, can ensure precise and efficient planning for seamless railway communication systems to address coverage, interference, and redundancy needs. Flux can evaluate the magnetic field radiated by power cables and busbars, and the effect of external fields on the operation of sensors or actuators.
While rail is the most environmentally friendly means of transport, freight trains today do not look much different than those from the past. To reach the climate and energy targets of the European Union while achieving higher payloads and a better ROI, the railway sector needs an innovation boost to build more efficient and sustainable rail freight wagons. TransAnt GmbH, a joint venture with ÖBB Rail Cargo Group and voestalpine Steel Division, was established to bring more efficient and sustainable rail freight solutions to the market. With its innovative concept based on modularity and lightweight design, once operational the company seeks to revolutionize the market as a full supplier of freight wagons. The company used Altair® HyperWorks® for topology optimization – in particular Altair® HyperMesh® – to realize the transition to a weldable structure, Altair® HyperView® for pre- and post-processing, and Altair® OptiStruct® for FEA (including local buckling) and optimization.
Sharma & Associates (SA), a Chicago-based consulting firm that is focused on providing engineering solutions to the railroad industry, led the effort. Since 1995, SA have delivered safe, effective and efficient solutions to its customers, which include the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Association of American Railroads (AAR), railroads and transit agencies, rail car builders and rail car component manufacturers. The objective of the Altair ProductDesign team effort was to develop an ‘Engineer Protection System (EPS)’ that can protect train crew in frontal collisions (a common mode of train collision) from secondary impact injuries.