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  • Writer's pictureBarry Michael Aldridge

THINKING PASSENGER. REDUCING DOWNTIME. IMPROVING EFFICIENCY.

Updated: Jun 21, 2023


FLOTEC IS ON A ROLL.


With ever-increasing pressures being placed on train operators to encourage passengers back to the UK rail network – and keep them, the SME rail supply chain plays an intrinsic role in helping to make this request a reality.

Flotec has supported train operator TfW in upgrading its DMU fleets to variable pitch fan technology, which has been proven to make them more reliable and efficient.


With previous methods of measuring train fleet performance changing from ‘MTIN’ (miles per technical incident) to ‘Miles per 701D’ (Mp701D) – measuring repeating failures every three minutes – and – working to eradicate train failure wherever possible, Flotec has designed a series of engineering solutions to help towards doing exactly this.


The Flotec objective for train leasing and operating companies is:


“To support train companies solve engine cooling issues, keeping fleets running to schedule and on time which helps enhance the passenger experience.”


WORKING TOWARDS KEEPING THE UK RAIL NETWORK MOVING.


The reasons for technical train failures are as diverse as they are complex.

SME Flotec Rail Division has focused its attention on engine cooling and efficiency enhancements, consisting of the following products:

  • EPDM Blue Stripe coolant hose and PowerGrip clamping

  • Railtec hydrostatic hose and coupling

  • Hydrostatic reservoir overhaul

  • Electronic fan control upgrade

  • Variable pitch fan upgrade installation

With a legacy of longer-term fleets still in major use on the UK rail network and in need of ‘reliability protecting and improving’, Flotec’s engineering solutions play an integral part in reducing train downtime and improving fleet efficiency.


HELPING TO ENGINEER THE PERFECT TRAIN.


Undoubtedly, providing passengers with an exceptional customer service is vast in the topics to be tackled.

Fleet efficiency is paramount in addressing a series of consumer demands and expectations.


Quite simply, passengers expect trains to turn up and deliver them to their destination on-time, every-time.

OPERATING TO MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY.


Flotec has designed a series of train engine system overhauls and upgrades to help train leasing and operating companies meet the demanding expectations of today’s rail passengers.


Flotec’s train fleet upgrades ensure to work towards keeping train engines cool and operating to maximum efficiency.

NO TIME TO BE IDLE.


Flotec’s train fleet system upgrade has been designed to eradicate train engine ‘RTI’ engine failures.


RTI (return to idle) engine complications often occur when radiators become blocked by contaminants such as general debris, dirt, leaves or pollen.


Testing of the variable pitch fan during an upgrade.


KEEPING COOL UNDER PRESSURE.


Coolant hoses play a critical role in optimising fleet efficiency.


Whilst silicone hoses are a common cooling application, Flotec advises installing its Blue Stripe EPDM coolant hose product.


For starters, the Blue Stripe EPDM hose has been tested and proven to be ten times more resistant to water permeation than its silicone variants and when used in conjunction with PowerGrip clamps, delivers over 750,000 miles of engine use.


This combination provides a leak-free finish and is an advisable upgrade during scheduled train fleet overhauls.


HYPED ABOUT HYDROSTATIC.


Flotec has introduced its own white label hydrostatic hose product range to the rail market.


The Railtec MED2-HT hydrostatic hose not only withstands temperatures of up to 150 Degree Celsius (ensuring it far supersedes EN 45545-2 fire safe requirements) but has also been tested to 600,000 impulse cycles, meaning it lasts three times longer than other available hydraulic hose alternatives.


Flotec accompanies its Railtec hydrostatic hose product with a patented ‘C-insert’ MegaCrimp coupler which, like the Blue Stripe EPDM coolant hose, provides a genuine leak-free solution.


A COMPLETE SET OF SOLUTIONS.


Further bolstering its more traditional hose products, Flotec has developed a series of modifications and upgrades to work in harmony by creating a more efficient and effective train.


Where necessary, Flotec overhauls hydrostatic reservoirs. This process effectively removes a build-up of contaminants, helping reduce engine failure.


Electronic fan control technology has improved in recent times, making it more favourable to fleet engineers and train operators alike.


Flotec can replace older thermostatic fan controllers with their more reliable electronic counterparts.


Original DMU fleet designs encompassed traditional fixed displacement pumps. Flotec has realised many benefits in upgrading to variable displacement pumps, helping to improve the reliability of long-term ‘legacy’ fleets.



Flotec has supported train operator EMR in upgrading its DMU fleets to meet demanding passenger expectations by reducing fleet downtime and increasing train efficiency.


AWARD WINNING INNOVATION.


Flotec’s award-winning variable pitch fan effectively maintains DMU train radiator efficiency by eliminating blocking contaminants from entering the system and regulating air flow through the radiator.



Drawing inspiration from similar technology used in other industrious applications, the blades of the variable pitch fan rotate on their own axis to change the pitch and reverse through the cross position.


This guarantees that air will always be increased and in an optimum position to produce maximum flow when in both cooling and cleaning modes.

The Flotec variable pitch fan is the crème-de-la-crème of Flotec’s overall system upgrade.


SPOILT FOR CHOICE.


Flotec is committed to capitalising on the latest train innovations and technologies to provide and deliver optimum train performance.


No one scenario is the same with different train operators facing different demands and in need of a unique solution.


Flotec has designed an upgrade plan consisting of six options, dependent on individual requirements and inspects train fleets to advise on the most effective route to take.


A VALUE-ADDED SERVICE PROVISION.


Flotec offers a complete and comprehensive document creation support service for train companies.


Rail requirements are rightfully stringent where Flotec has developed a service to help rail clients compose and compile all necessary documentation to cover technical specifications, quality and safety requirements which, help projects pass any given inspection and approval process to ensure train fleet upgrade projects go ‘live’ in the fastest and safest time frame possible.


This value-added service provision removes administration time and burden from the client


A member of the Flotec engineering team, completing a DMU train upgrade.


A TEAM EFFORT.


Collaboration has been critical in designing the perfect train engine cooling system with Flotec being on a journey, which has not been taken alone.


The variable pitch fan has taken fifteen years in the making with rigorous R&D and intensive track-testing taking place prior to ascertaining all necessary accreditations and approvals to go live on the UK’s rail network.


Additionally, the Railtec hydrostatic hose has undergone five years of superior testing and trialling, ensuring it is a genuine market leading product.


Stakeholder collaboration has resulted in SME Flotec earning the enviable stripes and kudos of becoming an official Angel Trains Innovation Partner.


The Flotec and TfW engineering team busy at work on a DMU train.


MOVING AT FULL THROTTLE.


Flotec’s engineering innovations are now fully live, tried, tested, and have returned measured and proven results in enhanced performance and reduced downtime to long-lasting fleets.


2020 witnessed train operator TfW benefit from a complete DMU fleet upgrade with EMR following suite the next year.


Case Study:


In 2022, Flotec was successful in winning a contract with the UKs second largest train operator, Northern.



In 2022, Flotec began work on upgrading the entire class of 15x train fleets for train operator, Northern.


A CONTINUING JOURNEY.


With Flotec’s engineering initiatives proven to make trains more efficient and reliable and helping deliver a first-class passenger experience, there is still a great more work to be done.


Working with Flotec, train operators throughout the UK have the opportunity to achieve similar success stories in attracting and retaining passengers to their networks, ensuring a timely and reliable service through the delivery of efficient train fleets.


Flotec has positioned itself as a critical success factor within the SME rail supply chain, helping train operators to reach their full potential.

Watch the Flotec team in action on a DMU train upgrade for TfW:

Credits:

People photography pictures: freepik.com

Train photography pictures: shutterstock.com, Northern Resource Library and unsplash.com

On-site pictures and installation film: insideoutgroup.co.uk


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