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Toho Tenax and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to develop mass-production CFRP springs for railcar trucks; saving almost 1 ton weight per car

Toho Tenax Co., Ltd., the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers and composites business and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. will jointly develop a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) leaf spring that can be mass-produced for railcar trucks. The leaf spring was initially developed in 2013 and is already used in Kawasaki’s new-generation railcar truck, the efWING.

CFRPP_Spring_151201_S

CFRPP_Spring_151201_S
Top: CFRP leaf spring. Bottom: efWING. Click to enlarge.

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 900 kg (1,984 lbs) per railcar. Benefits include more efficient running costs and lower CO2 emissions, as well as the reduction in the risk of wheel derailment.

Toho Tenax will help establish an integrated system encompassing everything from the carbon fiber’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 fiber, with one such result being this joint development with Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Teijin Group aims to expand its carbon fiber and composite businesses by increasingly focusing on innovative transportation solutions, a key element focus of our downstream strategy.

—Takashi Yoshino, Teijin Group Executive Officer, general manager of Carbon Fibers & Composites Business Unit, president of Toho Tenax

Comments

Henry Gibson

Regenerative braking might be more important. It is now economically possible to have it on all rail vehicles. ..HG..

Engineer-Poet

A hopper car carries roughly 100 tons of bulk cargo, if it's dense enough.  An extra ton of cargo is another 1% revenue with no increase in variable cost.  I see this being quite popular.

Arnold

My experience of resetting LDPV and LD Commercial V, steel leaf springs left me desiring fibre composite alternatives.
In combination with alloy single rims there are fuel cost as well as performance and handling benefits esp if fitted from new.

Unfortunately the L -MDCV makers persist with steel leaf and the coil options have their own limitations .
Composite leaf springs are not readily available.

This would seem a much neater solution.

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