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Apply until:

May 7, 2024

Funding up to:

€5 900 000

Startup; SME

If you are:

Industry:

Family Services

Short description:

Advancing rail safety and interoperability with new digital automatic coupler testing.

ExpectedOutcome:
Building upon the results of S2R freight innovation pillar 5 (IP5)[1], European Digital Automatic Coupler Delivery Programme (EDDP)[2] and upon the work being delivered by Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (EU-Rail) Flagship Project 5 (FP5-TRANS4M-R)[3], the Project stemming from this topic is expected to contribute to the EU-Rail Programme addressing the activities on Full Digital Freight Train Operations considered within FP5-TRANS4M-R.

Stakeholders gathered under the open Europen DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP)[4] have agreed to a overall plan which target to have DAC pre-deployment pilot trains by early 2026, having them running for a couple of years in European freight operations to gather the necessary data and confidence before launching the full deployment of such solution. To reach this target, the following goals need to be achieved:

ensure that the pre-deployment trains are using the starter/basic package considering the activities to support DAC authorisation. The starter/basic package comprises the following digital/automation functions: mechanical or push-button uncoupling from wagon side, uncoupling in-train from locomotives, energy/data management ready for other functions, train composition/wagon order, automated brake test, train integrity as functionality and automated technical wagon inspection,
initiate mix and match tests[5] as a first step towards the interchangeability of DAC interface where the two main components of a DAC unit (coupler head and draft gear) are connected, herewith called Interface A,
enlarge the number of Wagon Onboard Units (WoBu) compliant with the full digital freight train operation system architecture developed by FP5-TRANS4M-R and which would be made available to the Project stemming out of this call by the time of its start,
reach a sufficient number for future deployment of the most common existing locomotives types ready to integrate hybrid couplers.

The interaction with FP5-TRANS4M-R is fundamental as the activities considered within the workstreams identified within this call are linked to the functional specifications, technical architecture and deliverables of the Flagship Project. This link is crucial to ensure that the project stemming from this topic will be a valuable contribution to the FP5-TRANS4M-R. The project resulting from this topic should also support FP5-TRANS4M-R on the related DAC authorisation process, which the expected tests will be part of.

All project deliverables should ensure a broad exploitation of the results and take up in the context of the European DAC Delivery Programme (EDDP).


Scope:
To successfully address the expected outcomes, the Flagship Project stemming from this innovation action topic should research, develop, and deliver all the following capabilities and/or any other relevant capability within the following workstreams:

Workstream 1: DAC Interface A derailment and propelling safety tests, crash tests, climate chamber tests and initial tests to prove interchangeability of DAC coupler head/shank and draft gear across DAC solutions.

The Flagship Project work should contribute to specifically provide:

the execution of derailment tests, crash tests and climate chamber tests with DAC interface A[6]
test results for the DAC authorisation and standardisation activities within TSI and RID[7] requirements and potentially also other requirements depending where the successive pre-deployment pilot tests will take place under authorisation from the related NSAs.

In relation to the above, the action to be funded under this topic is expected to provide:

- Derailment and propelling safety (TRL 6):

providing the necessary test results of tests on running safety (safety against derailment) and tolerable longitudinal compressive forces with the DAC interface A (derailment tests). By doing so, running safety of freight wagons equipped with DAC interface A can be proven and TSI requirements for authorisation fulfilled,
validating the limit value of compressive forces for DAC interface A of each coupler supplier, based on a specified reference wagon composition as well as for interoperable usage,
with running safety validation assessment tool for propelled tests managed under the requirements of international standards and norms,
providing input to the EU-Rail System Pillar, in the Standardisation and TSI input plan (at least once in Q4 for each calendar year), and to the ERA as needed for the upcoming TSI revision package with regards to DAC.
Testing requirements and assets to be considered:
locomotives to perform compressive forces (minimum of 500 kN)
three (3) different wagon types as test specimen
barrier wagons
twenty (20) DAC interface A and spare parts
measuring equipment



- Crash tests considering (TRL 6/7):

validated figures for DAC interface A couplers according to the crash test requirements based on the requirements of EN 15227 and RID,
provision of input to the EU-Rail System Pillar, in the Standardisation and TSI input plan (at least once in Q4 for each calendar year), and to the ERA as needed for the upcoming TSI revision package with regards to DAC.
Testing requirements and assets to be considered:
ten (10) DAC interface A units
measuring equipment



- Climate Chamber Tests (TRL 6/7):

providing validation of DAC interface A couplers in harsh environment, esp. ice and snow based on T1 standard (-25°C / +40°C) fulfilling the requirements for authorisation
Testing requirements and assets to be considered:
three (3) different wagon types as test specimen
four (4) DAC interface A coupler per DAC supplier. Those units could be reused from the ones used on the measuring equipment.



Workstream 2: Mix and match tests - initial tests to prove interchangeability of DAC interface A coupler head/shank and draft gear across DAC suppliers.

The R&I work should provide the first results for interchangeable DAC interface A couplers for the handling, the transmission of forces and the behaviour for defined operational test cases.

Based on the test results, a comprehensive test specification should be defined for a fully developed mix and match test aiming for the interchangeability of interface A in DAC couplers.

The action to be funded under this topic is expected to:

manage tests to ensure the interchangeability across all project-involved DAC suppliers,
provide bench tests to measure the force transmission at different coupling angles and perform operational tests (TRL 7) on defined test cases from FP5-TRANS4M-R.
Testing requirements and assets to be considered:
rail infrastructure: straight, curve and S-shape tracks
three (3) different wagon types
one locomotive
six (6) DAC interface A couplers per DAC supplier
measuring equipment



Workstream 3: Hybrid coupler for mainline and shunting locomotives, technical analysis and development of fitting solutions.

The Flagship Project stemming from this innovation action topic should first identify the most suitable locomotive types (mainline and shunter locomotives) for the technical integration of power supply and communication systems.

The action to be funded under this topic is expected to deliver:

the evaluation and assessment of existing technical documentation of the locomotive types considered.
the analysis of technical boundaries:
Technical solutions for full system integration of hybrid couplers/ power supply system.


the evaluation and assessment of potential technical solution for the integration of power supply and communication systems within the locomotive types considered.
a roadmap for technical integration within the planned timeframe to allow the preparation of test runs (TRL 7) (based on the FP5- TRANS4M-R test specifications for DAC hybrid coupler and which would be made available to the Project stemming out of this call by the time of its start), support of trials and document/assessment of the results.
Testing requirements and assets to be considered:
minimum eight (8) hybrid couplers,
pre-deployments trains considering a mixture of mainline and shunting locomotives.



The specific tests considered within the workstream actions are expected to comply with the requirements mentioned above and the applicants are expected to perform the number of tests needed to reach this goal.

Workstream 4: Wagon Onboard Unit (WoBu).

The activities within this workstream should contribute to:

The provision of wagon onboard unit prototypes for FP5-TRANS4M-R.

Different suppliers will have to be involved and to deliver the needed number of WoU. The wagon onboard unit prototypes can be provided by different companies if compliance to the requirements is reached. These units should be conceived according to the applicable Full Digital Freight Train requirements of FP5-TRANS4M-R, which would be made available to the Project stemming out of this call by the time of its start, and should already have demonstrated an adequate level of interoperability on the reference test system in a relevant environment. The project should perform demonstrations in operational environments (TRL 7). It must be foreseen that the number of WoUs provided and supporting the EDDP train functions would amount to minimum thirty (30) units. These units should be conceived according to the applicable Full Digital Freight Train requirements.

Interaction with the System Pillar

The System Pillar aims to guide, support and secure the work of the Innovation Pillar (i.e. to ensure that research is targeted on commonly agreed and shared customer requirements and operational needs, compatible and aligned to the system architecture), and the Innovation Pillar will impact the scope of the System Pillar where new technologies or processes mean that innovations can drivea change in approach, as well as delivering detailed specifications and requirements.

In this respect, the proposal should allocate necessary resources that would be dedicated to areas linked to the System Pillar conceptual and architecture works – particularly addressing specification development (the interaction is illustrated in the System Pillar – Innovation Pillar interaction note (Annex VI of this Work Programme) and to areas linked with the EDDP). The alignment of the activities will primarily take place during the Grant Preparation Phase and ramp up phase of the awarded proposal, and there will be continued, structured and regular interaction through the life of the project.

Gender dimension

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

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