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Toho Tenax has agreed with Kawasaki Heavy Industries to jointly develop a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) leaf spring that can be mass-produced for railcar trucks.
According to Toho Tenax, the leaf spring was initially developed in 2013 and is already used in Kawasaki’s new-generation railcar truck, the efWING. It says it will help establish an integrated system encompassing everything from the carbon fibre’s original yarn to the actual CFRP leaf springs. The new mass-production system will enable the efWING to be marketed on a global scale.
“Teijin Group is accelerating its downstream strategy by leveraging its high-performance carbon fibre, with one such result being this joint development with Kawasaki Heavy Industries,” says Teijin Group Executive Officer Takashi Yoshino, who is also General Manager of the group’s Carbon Fibres & Composites Business Unit and President of Toho Tenax. “Teijin Group aims to expand its carbon fibre and composite businesses by increasingly focusing on innovative transportation solutions, a key element focus of our downstream strategy.”
It explains that conventional railcar trucks use side frames and independent coil springs made of steel, but the efWING is the world’s first to combine these components in a simplified solution made of CFRP. The lighter materials and simplified design help to reduce the truck frame’s weight by some 900kg per railcar. Benefits include more efficient running costs and lower CO2 emissions, as well as the reduction in the risk of wheel derailment.
Image provided by Teijin
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