Rail operators need reduce their ecological footprint, while increasing the reliability of their rail systems and reducing interventions and maintenance. At Innotrans 2018, we presented PowerFil, a ground-breaking new high performance alloy to address modern railway grid challenges. Today, we are entering a new phase in bringing PowerFil to the market. Following successful tests, we expect to commission our first PowerFil project in Europe in 2021.
Powerfil, the next generation alloy for railway electrification
PowerFil is a next generation alloy that can be used in multiple applications for railway electrification, including messenger and contact wires. It has superior properties compared to conventional CuMg alloys. This highly efficient ‘green’ alloy offers approximately 23% better resistance than standard CuMg 0,5 alloys. Minimising energy loss, PowerFil allows operators to save up to 12,000 euros per km during the lifetime of a messenger wire. It shows less resistance and heat losses, allowing more trains to run on the same track.
Convincing tests confirm alloy characteristics
Although COVID-19 slightly changed our plans, we made significant progress in implementing Powerfil in the field for some of our customers. Following several technical meetings, we produced PowerFil-based railway products for a number of pilot projects. Various types of stranded messenger conductors were manufactured, including 95mm² (37 wires x 1,80 mm), 70mm² (19 wires x 2,10 mm) according to DIN and 150 mm² (37 wires x 2,25 mm) according to DIN.
Contact wires were produced out of this alloy as well, proving the high performance characteristics with a conductivity of over 90 %, while guaranteeing a tensile strength of the strongest bronze alloys of min. 440 MPa.
In our ISO 17025 accredited lab these cables and wires were subjected to all standard tests such as tensile strength, conductivity, bending, as well as type tests with accessories on tensile breaking strength. Results from these lab tests confirmed PowerFil’s superior characteristics, including an exceptional thermal resistance compared to traditional alloys (see annealing curve) resulting in less creep and increasing longevity at high operating temperatures.
Going live in 2021
As lab results lived up to the expectations, all tests related to a pilot project were signed off on. After the delay due to COVID-19 we are now proceeding with preparations of the first inline implementation for a customer as of 2021. In parallel we are advancing on other trial projects in close collaboration with our partnering customers.
Be sure not to miss out on developments regarding our PowerFil alloy. Contact our sales team for more information.
This article was last edited on Dec 11, 2020