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04-10-2018 | Production + Production Technology | News | Article

The World's First CFRP Rail Vehicle

Thomas Siebel

CG Rail has unveiled a rail vehicle made almost entirely of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) components. The lightweight train's car body alone is 30 percent lighter than a conventional aluminium structure.

The Chinese-German company CG Rail presented the world's first train consisting almost entirely of CFRP components at the InnoTrans trade fair. The world's largest rail vehicle manufacturer, CRRC from China, commissioned the development of the train. CG Rail designed the essential modules: a front cabin, car body, underfloor panel and bogie frame. 

The car body consists of 70 percent CFRP and is 30 percent lighter than a conventional aluminium structure. The Dresden-based company used an advanced pultrusion process to efficiently produce large single-piece multi-chamber CFRP profiles with walls up to 25 millimetres thick using various fibre types and fibre orientations.

40 percent lighter bogie frame

The bogie frame's four main components consist of longitudinal and cross beams made of CFRP. In a similarly innovative, highly automated process, the beams' textile reinforcement structures are produced in a braiding or winding process, or a combination of the two, before being impregnated with resin and then hardened using the resin transfer moulding process. The CFRP bogie frame, which is more than 40 percent lighter than its steel equivalent, can withstand the highest loads and meets all driving dynamics requirements, according to the company.

Sixteen patents pending

The front cabin and underfloor panel consist of 90 percent CFRP, meaning that the assemblies weigh around 30 percent less than comparable metal designs. CG Rail – Chinese-German Research and Development Center for Railway and Transport Technology Dresden – has so far filed sixteen patents on its CFRP train.


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