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  ALUMINIUM EXTRUSIONS FOR THE RAILWAY SECTOR


 

 
 

The facts
Customer: Rustici for Trenitalia

Required product: extrusions in aluminium alloy for flooring
Use: flooring for the high capacity double-decker train “Vivalto” for the intercity train network 

Trenitalia S.p.A. is the main Italian company for the management of the railway transportation of both passengers and goods. This project is an answer to the need of functional improvements to the double-decker trains “Vivalto”. The flooring of the former models was realized by materials too high in weight; it was therefore necessary to search a different solution allowing a reduction in weight whilst keeping the same lavels of robustness, increasing the space available, improving accessibility and capacity, and being environmentally friendly.
The use of aluminium is widespread in the railway sector due to the advantages offered by the chemical, physical and mechanical features of the aluminium alloys. In this particular case, the possibility to obtain lighter structures, higher safety levels, improve aesthetical appearance and material recyclability had directed the designers towards solutions made of aluminium alloys. 
The choise of Rustici for Trenitalia, therefore, could only be METRA.   

The METRA offer
METRA offered to contribute through an internal analysis of the project specifications, providing its expertise in technical design in order to meet the quality standards required, which were imperative. 

To the customer was provided an innovative double flooring made of aluminium alloy. The design aims at promoting comfort, increase the interiori space and its usability in order to satisfy the needs of all passengers including the disabled. Furthermore, the project, due to the light structure, would bring a reduction in the energy consumption and the noise level. 
The design phase includes the use of the NASTRAN software for simulation and virtual wear testing, which are essential to meet the safety requirements. The digital simulation allows noticeable savings, because it is faster, less expensive and more efficient to construe andf check the performance of a computerised model than a physical prototype. 

Realisation
The structure of the double flooring was realised using 5 different profiles. 

The reduced thickness of the carriage floorings facilitates accessibility for the passengers. The shape versatility of the extruded aluminium profiles and the reduced weight of the structure are essential elements  for reducing the production costs.
The NASTRAN simulation and wear testing were of great help in achieving the objective of meeting all of the specific and strict requirements of the project.  

Results
The METRA experience enabled the realisation of an innovative product with positive effects on the community. “Vivalto” is a modern and passenger-sised means of transport. Aluminium, due its features of lightness in combination with robustness and resistance, as well as its machinability, has proven oncen again to be the perfect material for the railway sector. The reduced weight of the flooring facilitates accessibility of the passengers to the carriages. Particular attention was paid to the environmental impact of the materials and to the reduction in energy consumption. The new double-decker carriages were realized to offer highest comfort and functionality. The reduction in energy consumption, the use of recyclable materials and the considerable noise level reduction stand for the sensibility towards environmental sustainability and passengers' safety and comfort. 

The result is an innovative solution that allows a higher production efficiency ensuring highest and modern quality standards.

Why aluminium?
The choice of designers and constructors towards to use this light metal is motivated by various elements:  

- Lightness: the reductioncv in weight leads to reduction in energy consumption and higher performance levels.
- Recyclability: aluminium can be melted and re-used in other application.
- Safety: aluminium extrusions absorb impacts and shocks, reducing the risk of carriage capsizing in the event of an impact.
- Aesthetics and aerodynamics: aluminium allows a refined and modern design. In the field of aerodynamics, the versatility of aluminium, an easy material that can be given almost all possible shapes, allows to simplify the development  and the manufacture of carriages having a more suitable geometry.