Table of Contents
The global locomotive and rail powertrain systems market is becoming more complex and is witnessing a drastic change with innovative technologies on emission controls emerging as critical factors. Challenges such as global economic conditions, ageing locomotive fleet, high fuel costs, and stringent emission regulations have started to change the dynamics of the global locomotive market.
In fact, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers have started to address some of the issues with core emphasis on technologies that monitor and control emission and this has allowed them to become key differentiators within the industry.
With rail engines over the following decades expected to account for a large share of the overall emissions, global environmental agencies such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European Environment Agency (EEA) have started to adopt strict standards to keep a check on diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. OEMs world over are forced to re-invent themselves that potentially would lead to newer trends being set in the future.
What are the Trends Driving This Cause:
Scalability and Standardization:
With the objective of meeting the demand for locomotives and rail cars across the globe, OEMs have started to standardize design platforms to gain prominence thereby eliminating the need for individual designs. Modularity is at the core of this transformation that will facilitate easier customization per order. Going forward, environmental impact will continue to play a major role in product design. Through light weighting and aerodynamics, OEMs continue to plan and develop products that boost locomotive operating efficiency while meeting or even exceeding the requirements of all agencies globally.
Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) are considered the next-gen state-of-the-art power electronics that are acting as a catalyst to the electric traction system and diesel electric rail machines. IGBTs, which have replaced the previous inverter generation represented by GTO (gate turn off thyristors), are being used largely due to their reliability. Moreover, they are considered to be a mature technology that does not substantially increase the vehicle cost. For example, ABB has started to supply IGBT converters for locomotives with the objective of modernizing train services and further increasing capacity on the Swiss network. These comprise new oil free compressors designed to minimize power consumption by GWh/year thereby resulting in optimal fuel consumption.
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