In the UK, a significant number of DMUs are at a point in their lives where business cases may still support refurbishment and modernisation initiatives. Voith components have been associated with the UK rolling stock market for over 30 years. Be it the revolutionary hydro-dynamic and hydro-mechanical transmissions, Scharfenberg couplers, cooler groups or final drives, the company’s equipment delivers high quality and reliable performance time after time.
Today, Voith has evolved to become far more than an individual component supplier. Its strength lies in the capability to offer customers a whole-system approach by, for example, supplying a complete driveline from the engine to the wheels or a modular train front end including the fitted-out cab structure, integral energy absorption, coupler and retraction mechanism.
The Voith product range can help realise the aforementioned projects either through complete product replacement or through bespoke sub-packages. The company has the expertise and resources to take full control of the sub system design, manufacturing and integration. In the case of retrofit projects this can also include installation and commissioning.
Strength in service
With 25 service engineers across the UK and Ireland, Voith rapidly responds to customer’s demands for on-site assistance at depots and train manufacturing facilities. Service engineers work in close cooperation with customers, providing end user support in daily operation through fault-finding, troubleshooting, training and maintenance baselining exercises. A major part of the company’s aftermarket strength is its proactive service approach.
Voith offers completely or partially integrated solutions to support franchise modernisation programmes, assuming the control of projects on customer demands. This project management approach minimises the efforts on negotiations and the interfaces for the customer.
The Voith hydrodynamic transmission has been hugely successful in the world market with over 40,000 units sold. In the UK, in the 1980s, the T211 hydro-dynamic transmission initiated a new era of increased reliability and performance of DMUs. Today, customers around the world still specify these as their transmissions of choice.
A more recent development is the DIWARail hydro- mechanical transmission, the key feature of which is the integrated reversing mechanism, unique to Voith. Unmatched in the market, the DIWARail transmission addresses the increasing drive to reduce fuel consumption and component weight whilst maintaining reliability and efficiency. Simulation programmes allow users to choose a specific transmission to suit their particular requirements and duty cycles.
A recent evaluation trial involved the fitment of two DIWARail transmissions to one Class 158 train. A collaborative project between train owner Angel Trains and operator Arriva Trains Wales, turnkey design, manufacture and integration were managed completely by Voith with the fitment completed within 14 days, a tribute to the excellent collaboration between all concerned.
The results of the trial proved that fuel consumption savings of up to 16 per cent are achievable, although this can be influenced by both the average distance between station stops and the average train line speed.
The expectations in terms of the trial performance criteria were exceeded, and an overall train weight reduction of over 400kg was realised by the modification. The train is now in operational service with over 100,000 miles of fault free running having been accumulated.
As further example of a retrofit driveline project to enhance an existing fleet, Voith is currently delivering 200 new final drives and cardan shafts for a UK DMU fleet. These vehicles had a critical timeframe for delivery, so the project demanded a ready-to-fit solution, with no modifications to be made to the vehicle.
Having worked closely with the customer to develop a dedicated replacement powered wheelset and cardan shaft, the scope of supply also required Voith to obtain RISAS certification and fit customer-supplied axle bearings and associated parts.
The combined final drive and cardan shaft package has a potential operating life of one million miles. So far, the wheelsets and cardan shafts fitted have accumulated a total over five million miles of trouble free operation.
Coolers, couplers and cardan shafts
The UK Cooler Group Excellence Centre is located in Greenford, where Voith has modern facilities to test any particular design of cooler groups for locomotives and DMUs. Here, thanks to extensive resources, Voith offers overhaul, test and upgrade of any manufacturers cooler group in any application for both diesel and electric traction from multiple units to locomotives.
Scharfenberg couplers need no introduction as they are the established standard for modern effective coupling around the world in all applications from Metro through to the latest high-speed trains. Complete coupler replacements, upgrades and retro fit packages are offered, based on standard models or design and engineer bespoke solutions to improve performance and reliability.
These upgrade solutions can be applied for any manufacturer’s couplers including packages such as replacement coupler heads, upgraded electrical boxes or winter resilience modifications.
Voith’s ‘one million mile’ cardan shafts are now fitted to a high proportion of UK DMUs and are proving to be a cost effective and reliable option for operators. The key is having the technology and expertise in-house to develop the most effective solution for any application.
Now including diesel engines!
Although known for its transmissions, adding a diesel engine range to Voith’s driveline product range was an obvious extension. It allows the prime mover to be perfectly matched to the transmission, either as a separately mounted configuration or in a powerpack combined with a DIWARail, T211 transmission or electrical generator. Voith engines are Stage 3B compliant and the six-cylinder engine covers a power range from 294 to 390kW.
For a significant number of UK legacy DMUs, the Voith engine offers lower weight/space envelope and higher power with reduced fuel consumption.
When the new engine is combined with the DIWARail transmission, the benefits of reduced fuel consumption from two components can be realised with the added advantage of modern technology and increased power.
When taken together, Voith rolling stock solutions deliver increased efficiency, fuel savings, weight reduction, improved reliability/availability/ maintainability and the elimination of parts obsolescence. Retrofit integration on the fleet can be delivered as a single source, turn-key solution.