16 January 2018
16 January 2018
The use of composites within the rail industry is predicted to grow by up to 40% between 2015 and 2020 according to the Composites Leadership Forum, reports Fibrelite, a UK manufacturer of composite trench covers.
The rising interest in use of composite products in rail has led Composites UK to join forces with the Rail Alliance to help companies understand these new materials and how they can be used to solve industry challenges. Key properties of composites that are helping solve these challenges are their strength to weight ratio, durability and longevity.
Composites' high strength to weight ratio means that smaller items like trench covers can be moved manually instead of requiring lifting equipment, larger items like train doors can operate faster and more efficiently, while even larger items like bridges can be built using less material reducing costs. Their durability means they perform year after year in all weather conditions and can withstand exposure to corrosive materials like salt and fuel. Their longevity means they last longer than traditional materials, reducing disruption which is especially important for products like sleepers. Finally, composite products can be custom manufactured to suit the application, instead of building on site, which enables fast installation, allowing products like FRP bridges to be installed overnight.
As part of the £70 million development of Doncaster’s new Hitachi depot, Fibrelite designed and manufactured 100 m of custom GRP composite trench covers to fit piping apertures, providing protection from potential heavy vehicle traffic (up to D400/40 tonnes) while allowing safe easy manual access for monitoring and maintenance.
Originally, concrete recess covers had been fitted on Oldham’s Metrolink platform over underground utilities. Due to their weight, these were difficult to remove and replace, requiring specified lifting equipment and causing potential manual handling risks. Fibrelite designed and manufactured bespoke composite trench covers to fit directly into the existing apertures, allowing easy, safe (authorised) manual removal and providing a safe walking surface.
Photo provided by Fibrelite
The American Composites Manufacturers Association participated in a roundtable discussion about the IMAGINE Act. Known as the Innovative Materials in American Growth and Infrastructure, Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act, the new bill is designed to promote the increased use of innovative materials like fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, as well as new manufacturing methods to accelerate the deployment and extend the life of infrastructure projects.
After the collapse of a drinking water pipeline in downtown Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Insituform was contracted to reline a close to 100 year old pipe underneath one of the canals. Water was restored successfully within five days, with minimal impact on traffic and the environment.
Composites Evolution, Bercella and Element Materials Technology (Element) have successfully completed the development and testing of a composite cantilever support for rail passenger seating.