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Test bench for bogies simulates 30 years in service on the track: Alstom facility allows tests of bogies with all their components to be finished more rapidly.

ALSTOM has opened a facility at its site in Neuhausen, Switzerland to test and validate the bogies for its trains.

The manufacturer has developed a test bench at the site that can accommodate complete bogies, including underframe, suspensions, transmission and engines.

Up to now, only the individual underframes and parts of bogies were validated on a test bench, with fatigue tests and tests of other components simulated by computer. This meant that Alstom first developed each of the components and then validated the fully assembled bogie during endurance tests performed on the train.

This process, said the company, gave an on-going appreciation but did not allow a full anticipated validation of the bogie for 30 years of service.

The use of the test bench for complete bogies improves this process by reducing the time needed to ensure product reliability. In addition, technical teams can test the bogies under conditions nearly identical to those found in service.

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For example, checks can be run on the performance of a bogie equipped with all its components during slow or rapid acceleration phases, whether in a straight line or in a curve.

The impact of the underframe's weight on the bogie as well as the unevenly distributed load of passengers is also measured. By repeating these tests according to standardised, regulated cycles, the physical change in the bogies over time can be determined.

So, before being put into service, an Alstom bogie equipped with all its components will have undergone at least 10 million fatigue test cycles which, in a period of just four to six months, will simulate nearly 30 years of service.

For example, Alstom has equipped the Ixege bogie for the Citadis tramways with more than 460 stress, temperature, torque measurement and displacement sensors. Feedback is immediate and adjustments are made continuously throughout the development phase of the bogie.

With improvements expected to be made on the new bogie test bench, it will eventually be possible to simulate a route with even greater precision by incorporating possible track defects.

All of Alstom's future bogies will be tested at the Neuhausen centre.

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Title Annotation:TECHNOLOGY
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Oct 21, 2009
Words:352
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