Sittard, Netherlands - DSM Engineering Plastics and Durel GmbH have developed a range of railway side buffer springs, draft gears and crash buffers by combining metal with thermoplastic polyether elastomer (TPE-E).
According to DSM, Durel chose its Arnitel TPE-E for its train springs because it absorbed and released energy in predictable ways, helping trains start, accelerate, decelerate and stop smoothly.
The Dutch firm said Arnitel TPE-E did not rust or fracture and, in contrast to rubber, did not lose its ability to act as a spring with a field life of 20 years.
"Our elastomer spring design objectives were three-fold," Michael Schnaufer, director of German-based Durel, said
"The first was of course to dampen energy, meeting systems specifications and customer requirements. The second was to provide new levels of effectiveness in the same footprint of earlier components. Size, weight and cost considerations are paramount for installation on both new and existing rolling stock in a market with ever increasing demands. Finally, we needed a product lifecycle measured not in years but in decades-locomotives and railcars stay in service for very long times."