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£4.5m advanced test facility to launch at Centre for Innovation in Rail

11 January 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The UK’s £22 million Centre for Innovation in Rail will officially open in autumn 2016 coinciding will the launch of a £4.5 million advanced test facility.

New testing facility at the Centre for Innovation in Rail

New testing facility at the Centre for Innovation in Rail

Co-funded by the Regional Growth Fund, the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) at the University of Huddersfield is currently in the process of delivering its £22 million Centre for Innovation in Rail (CIR). The opening ceremony will take place in autumn 2016 whilst hosting an event for its new £4.5 million state-of the-art laboratory facility. The advanced test equipment currently being installed will support both the CIR and the wider railway research activities of the IRR.

advanced test facility to launch at Centre for Innovation in Rail

Architects drawing of new testing facility at the Centre for Innovation in Rail

Advised and supported by an industry led Steering Group comprising the CIR’s project partners Unipart Rail, Omnicom Engineering and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSARE) and current stakeholder representation from Network Rail and the Rail Industry Association (RIA), the laboratory will boost fundamental research output at the university and across the UK. The facility will help advance the science of wheel-rail interaction vehicle dynamics, materials technology and emerging research areas such remote condition monitoring systems (RCM) and Big Data analytics as part of the developing digital railway.

” Centre for Innovation in Rail will offer a multitude of services, from Innovation support and blue-skies industrial research to product testing and trialling “

Dr Paul Allen, Prinicipal Enterpise Fellow and Assistant Director of the IRR explains: “With a mission to link innovative SME’s and larger industrial partners with academia, the CIR will offer a multitude of services, from Innovation support and blue-skies industrial research to product testing and trialling. The centre’s services and unique facilities aim to develop into a one-stop shop for railway innovators and technology providers looking to enter the rail market”. The centre will also provide opportunities to develop and validate new products ready for rail market applications.

advanced test facility to launch at Centre for Innovation in Rail

New testing facility at the Centre for Innovation in Rail

Under the context of the newly formed CIR, the facilities will provide an advanced dynamic testing capability for the trialling and approvals of vehicle and track systems. The new equipment also supports a range of existing virtual testing and expert modelling services provided by the wider IRR team. These include mechanical dynamics, design optimisation and Finite Element modelling.

Once open facilities will include:

  • Advanced full-scale bogie rolling contact, adhesion and braking rig
  • 50t capacity general purpose dynamic test cell with Hardware-in-the-loop capability
  • High g actuators for study of vibrations and approval of on-vehicle equipment
  • Multi-purpose 6-axis motion platform
  • 120 node High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) for Big Data analytics
  • Clean laboratory for development of prototype RCM technologies

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