Few things move like a maglev—the “Concorde of rail.”
In case you’re unfamiliar, a maglev (short for magnetic levitation) is a type of train suspended and propelled by magnetic force. Combined with an aerodynamic shape, these trains can easily hit speeds past 250 MPH.
Maglev trains are becoming a critical part of Chinese infrastructure. Accuride movement solutions allow for quicker maintenance and less downtime on these technological wonders.
As one can imagine, a lot of challenge goes into keeping these machines in operation. It was that type of challenge China’s Zhūzhōu Electric Locomotive Company (ZELC), a subsidiary of the China National Railway Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), recently faced.
ZELC received a contract to build China’s first mid-to-low-speed maglev, set for commercial service in Húnán, a province in the southeast. With twice the people and just a third of the space of Texas, quick maintenance and consistent operation are paramount for the province’s rail service.
A key part of a maglev lies in the controller, a device that stabilizes the train’s magnetic levitation. Each train has around 60 controllers, all of which need routine disassembly and installation. This process was averaging 20 minutes per controller, or 20 hours per train.
Such long maintenance periods mean a lot of downtime for vital transportation, constraining the number of trains available for service. Fewer available trains mean fewer seats for commuters, fewer people getting to work on time, and less productivity and efficiency for communities and businesses.
Accuride’s stainless steel 3500 Series, seen attached to the controller box above, enable quick and simple removal of the devices. That speedy removal means less downtime and more operational efficiency.
Accuride China responded to ZELC’s need for a movement solution that could make access to the train’s controllers quick and simple. Additionally, that solution would have to work seamlessly within the maglev’s existing framework.
Accuride and ZELC engineers found their solution in a corrosion-resistant version of Accuride’s 3500 Series slide. The decision on which model came after close consultation between ZELC and Accuride planners. Both parties analyzed the specs and dimensions needed, as well as harsh conditions (including moisture and intense vibration), the application would entail.
Engineers attached the 3500 variant, which includes an easy-to-use disconnect feature, to the box-shaped controller. This disconnect feature allows maintenance staff to rapidly and easily pull out and detach a controller from its compartment.
How quickly and easily? Staff reported they were able to complete disassembly and installation in as little as three minutes per controller, or three hours for the entire train. That’s about one-seventh of the time—a major increase in productivity.
This was an especially important application, one that impacted a company and the countless passengers of Húnán’s maglevs.
You can read Accuride Europe’s full story on its case study page.