Rolling stock manufacturer and refurbishment company DCD Rolling Stock, formerly known as RSD, has developed a new bolsterless fabricated passenger coach bogie specifically designed for South African conditions.
The manufacturer believes the new unit, developed over four years with a capital investment in excess of R7-million, positions it to participate in State-owned enterprise the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa’s) R123-billion tender to procure rolling stock.
The funds were allocated to Prasa in the Finance Minister’s 2012 Budget speech and supports Prasa’s objectives of renewing its rolling stock fleet across the country, as well as improving service reliability and passenger safety.
DCD Rolling Stock, part of the DCD conglomerate, operates as an international systems house with an in-house capability that enables it to offer a total rolling stock package, from design and manufacture to the refurbishment and modernisation of bogies, as well as supporting the aftersales market for bogies, including the supply of renewal parts.
The manufacturer states that independent contracted prototype testing conducted by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has confirmed that, compared with the existing Commonwealth bogie, DCD Rolling Stock’s bolsterless coach bogie has better running safety and ride quality and meets the specifications required by European UIC Code 518 for rolling stock approval.
The prototype also meets Transnet’s RSE/TE/SPC/0076 specification.
DCD Rolling Stock has its own accredited quality, environmental, health and safety systems in place – SABS ISO 9001:2008, Moody International BS EN ISO 14001:2004 and Moody International BSI OHSAS 18001 – which ensures that the manufacturing processes are carried out to international quality standards and under controlled conditions to mitigate their impact on the environment.
“The significant time, manpower and capital invested into the development of the new bogie make it possible for DCD Rolling Stock to offer original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and coach body manufacturers a proven bogie that has passed all the required initial tests.
“From this point, the bogie can be further designed to interface with any type of coach,” says DCD Group executive director Carl Rehder.
He adds that Prasa’s Rolling Fleet Stock Renewal Programme is the biggest tender of its kind to come onto the market in 30 years.
As a result, DCD Rolling Stock realised that, to be able to participate in the tender, it would need to develop, manufacture and test a relevant bogie to suit Prasa’s requirements.
“The bogie would have to be suitable for South African operating conditions, have low life cycle operating and maintenance costs and use international service proven concepts and components to ensure a safe and comfortable ride,” says DCD Rolling Stock technical manager Daryl Leggitt.
In preparation, the manufacturer sent a multidisciplinary team to meet with Prasa to determine and understand the in-service performance of the existing 8M fabricated bogies, four years ago.
The meeting enabled the company to obtain first-hand knowledge of the aspects favoured by the Prasa operating personnel and to determine areas for possible improvement in its design for the bolsterless bogie.
Feedback from the Prasa engineers indicated that they were happy with the 8M’s ride quality and low maintenance costs. Owing to this, DCD Rolling Stock tapped into its broad bogie design knowledge and developed the bolsterless passenger coach bogie, Leggitt adds.
Designed for speeds of up to 160 km/h and axle loads of up to 20 t, the bogie has low life cycle costs and service-proven high reliability components and has been designed to contain noise levels, as required in suburban areas.
Other key features include reduced bogie mass, greater parts availability, standardisation between trailer and motor coach and positively guided wheelsets.
The local content on the passenger coach bogie exceeds 80%.
“Two prototype bogies were manufactured in 2010 and were fitted to an old Metro Blitz coach for testing. “TFR was then contracted to run the initial tests, as it would provide unbiased results,” says Leggitt.
The results proved favourable in meeting the design expectations and DCD Rolling Stock believes this design has the potential to exceed Prasa’s required 40 year life span.
“We are now ready to partner with OEMs and coach body manufacturers from anywhere in the world on the Prasa tender, as we have the in-house engineering and manufacturing expertise to produce the bogies at turnaround rates to suit any OEM,” he states.
Research and development is one of DCD Rolling Stock’s strategic thrusts as it focuses on expanding its intellectual property, says Rehder.
“We are committed to providing sustainable products and solutions for the transport sector, by developing intellectual property in partnership with government, customers, suppliers and communities.”