With a skills shortage on the horizon which threatens to hamper the competitiveness of the UK rail industry in years to come, it’s crucial for the sector’s organisations to encourage young people to consider careers in railway engineering. For Alstom – a leading supplier of railway solutions – developing the next generation of engineering talent is crucial in ensuring the future success and viability of their UK business. And as a key supplier of suspension components, we’ve proudly supported Alstom in this mission, lending a helping hand to their graduates and apprentices over a two-year competition.
Tasked with developing an entry for the prestigious 2017 Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Railway Challenge, a ten-strong team of graduate engineers and apprentices faced the challenge of competing to design and manufacture the most innovative and efficient small-scale locomotive.
As part of Trelleborg’s sponsorship of the team, the participants were able to benefit from our in-depth knowledge of suspension and antivibration, helping them in their quest to deliver a quiet and efficient locomotive capable of bearing a 600kg load.
A bright future for the industry
As part of the project – which was completed over two years alongside other projects – the team was faced with a series of challenges, including energy storage, traction, ride comfort, noise and energy efficiency. In addition to the track-based considerations, the competition also included an Innovation Challenge, requiring competitors to produce an academic paper focused on the innovations of their locomotive.
Presenting the graduates and apprentices with the opportunity to apply their learning and equipping them with practical experience, the competition has had a positive impact by engaging young people who are just setting out in their careers.
Through sponsoring Alstom’s dedicated team, our Antivibration Solutions specialists were able to share their knowledge on key aspects of the project, helping to equip the young engineers with the expertise required to meet the future demands of the UK rail sector. By designing and developing their miniature locomotive, the team was also able to develop essential skills in rolling stock design, traction systems and material sourcing, with the final results put to the test at Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire.
As well as winning the Business Case Challenge award, the Alstom team finished the competition in eighth place.
For more information, visit www.trelleborg.com