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Ceit collaborates on a project that will reduce railway system maintenance costs

The San Sebastián-based technology center is part of the Railfiller project, along with FGC and Tria

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FOTO: Cedida
05/10/20 15:09

Maintaining Europe's railway system (trains and rails) costs more than 10 billion euros each year. When it comes to managing maintenance, most solutions are based on inspection points that are tested once a day (in the case of wheels) or once every few months (the rail or wheel profile). In addition, the biggest maintenance cost comes from repairs made to the rails due to issues with the track itself, with track replacement being one of the costliest aspects of maintaining a railway infrastructure. 

It has been estimated, however, that an optimal maintenance policy that is based on knowing the precise condition of the assets can save anywhere between 30% and 85% of the total maintenance cost.

The Railfiller project, in which Ceit joins FGC (Catalan Government Railways) and engineering firm Tria, aims to develop an in-situ system for repairing the metal components of the railway infrastructure by means of additive manufacturing. Moreover, the project will significantly reduce the use of current maintenance methods, as well as reduce the environmental impact associated with repair, thereby contributing to the sustainability of rail transport.

When it comes to carrying out repairs, one of the main challenges is transporting the material to the area where the repairs will take place. Railfiller will select the most appropriate material for repair and optimize the repair process via the use of an additive manufacturing technology known as laser metal deposition.

The project, which will run for 2.5 years, is part of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation's Collaboration Challenges program and has a budget of over 500,000€.