Suspension systems for rail vehicles
Gigabox – The completely new mounting and suspension concept
The GIGABOX is a unique system for rail freight transport consisting of a wheelset bearing and hydraulic spring. The new bearing suspension concept for rail vehicles, with integrated rubber spring with hydraulic damping, does what conventional systems cannot do: it reduces noise and pollution while increasing safety at higher travel speeds.
The system has been developed by ContiTech Luftfedersysteme GmbH and the SKF Group and was one of the five most important technological innovations in 2006. It has considerably fewer components than existing suspension systems. The wearing parts have been replaced by rubber guides. Furthermore, the hydraulic damper enables amplitude-dependent damping and does not experience any operational wear. Service intervals of ten years, or 1 million kilometers, are thus possible.
The GIGABOX provides for better freight car service behavior, so there is less wear throughout the system (wheels, bogies, superstructure and roadbed – tracks, ties and track ballast), and it reduces operational vibrations considerably. The hydraulic springs isolate the vibrations generated by the contact between wheel and rail. This makes it easy for freight cars to meet future standards and limits, especially with regard to noise development and rail wear. Enhanced running smoothness is also of benefit to the cargo. Wheels screech less when negotiating curves, with the effect that residents close to train lines are exposed to less noise.
The integrated rubber spring additionally functions as a wheel control and, in this way, contributes towards safety at high travel speeds. Freight cars are currently operated at speeds of between 80 and 120 km/h, however the GIGABOX system allows even higher speeds. Furthermore, the system is fully compatible and can be simply replaced with the suspension system in the standard freight car bogies (Y25).