Standard Car Truck: specialised design

bogies and single axle suspension systems

SCT Europe, the UK arm of the Standard Car Truck Company, specialises in the design of high-performance bogies and single axle suspension systems for the European rail freight market.

Building on over 100 years of experience in ride stabilisation systems from its US parent, it designs a standard range at its Kirkcaldy office capable of supporting a variety of axle weights and operating conditions which meet UK and European Railway standards.

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SCT Europe

Wayne Jamieson, Design Engineer for SCT Europe, elaborated,

For freight cars weight is a major factor. Every kilogram we can save in the bogie has a large impact on the customer’s running cost metrics. By utilising finite element analysis we can optimise the design so that it exceeds the specifications and at the same time minimise weight.

He already had long experience using COSMOSM for finite element analysis in partnership with Desktop Engineering.

Our confidence in the results from COSMOS, the service from Desktop Engineering , our choice of SolidWorks for modelling and the advances in COSMOSDesignSTAR made it the obvious choice for the new venture.

Working in SolidWorks, SCT analyses the design at every stage, checking each component in COSMOSDesignSTAR.

Wayne Jamieson said,

We use linear static analysis. The different loads are documented comprehensively in the UK and European Railway standards and we optimise for each part as we design it.

The load conditions for each component, for example the bogie frame, axle boxes and link bars are all well-known or can be easily derived. UK bogies, for example, may be 25.5 tonnes or 22.5 tonnes axle loading, and the design differs considerably between them. SCT has documented all the load/component permutations for the European and UK standards. These are then set-up in COSMOSDesignSTAR and applied to individual parts so that the status of each one can be quickly checked as the design progresses.

SCT Europe bogie

Wayne Jamieson also extracts damage plots from COSMOS. “The flexibility of COSMOS allows us to run spreadsheets and carry out calculations when we need to establish fatigue characteristics.” He can use these to compare the stress at each node with S and N curves to establish the number of cycles to failure.

The process of repeatedly optimising the design as it is developed has had some significant benefits for the company. Wayne Jamieson commented,

We have taken a whole new approach to bogie design with COSMOS. By continually optimising each component, the design of our frame is so far inside the acceptance criteria that it is likely that the FEA results will be sufficient to meet the specifications.

Physical testing of the prototype bogie could be limited to running dynamic tests, saving the cost and time of more extensive fatigue and structural tests. SCT has found that by using this methodology the stress levels within its frames are massively less than any it has experienced in the past. Weight, cost and time savings are also very worthwhile.

Our new bogie is significantly lighter than that of our main competitor. On one component alone we achieved a weight reduction from 130kg down to 70kg. Furthermore, there are four of these parts on each bogie and we have found that they are stronger, more reliable and more robust than the ones they replace.

The combination of SolidWorks and COSMOSDesignSTAR has saved around eight months of development time. We have absolute confidence in our design. Checking within COSMOS as we progress rather than when the design is complete means that we do not have to revisit the model. There have been few changes, and where they have been necessary the flexibility of the system has made their completion and the checking of the effects on the rest of the structure very quick indeed.

He concluded,

The reliability of the design process makes it possible for us to commit to tooling much earlier in the cycle, enabling us to bring a lighter, stronger and more cost-effective product to market much faster and with little danger of design revisions.

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