Capability of Rolling Efficiency for 100M High-Speed Rails

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-13ER90658
Agency Tracking Number: 76477
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: 02b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000801
Small Business Information
DUNS: 072247088
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Howard Huang
 (734) 973-7500
Business Contact
 Tzyy-Shuh Chang
Title: Dr.
Phone: (734) 973-7500
Research Institution
Development of high-speed rail services in the US is one of the priorities of the current administration. High-speed rails have the potential to change the nations energy consumption landscape in transportation at a time when both the highway and railroad capacities are being saturated with increased demand. In preparation to expand the transportation infrastructure for the coming decades, railroads would play a critical role in view of the energy efficiency. Rail transportation is more than twice as efficient as its highway counterpart in the US. Rail is a fundamental and expensive asset for any railroad. The new 100m high-speed rails not only improve the installation efficiency, but also enhance the riding quality, safety and infrastructure capacity, but not yet produced on the US soil. With the growing needs for high-speed rails, US rail manufacturers are investing heavily in facility and equipment. However, they will face rejection rates several folds higher, averaged at 20% based on reports, due to the stringent quality demand on 100m high-speed rails in surface and geometric quality and the lack of reliable in-line metrology technology for rails, a complex geometry formed in a hot process. The poor efficiency causes energy waste and poses a potential threat to the long-term sustainability of US-based rail manufacturing with fierce foreign competition. The goal of this project is to establish the competitive advantage of the US-based rail manufacturers by greatly enhanced efficiency through innovative in-line metrology technology, in-depth process knowledge, and advanced process control to overcome detrimental factors such as higher labor costs that are saddling the US manufacturing sector. Novel technologies are applied to transform the rail rolling process into a high-efficiency practice by integrating product metrology, as well as advanced process control into manufacturing. The Phase I will focus on the pilot demonstration on the technological feasibility on a key rail dimension. The objective upon the completion of Phase II is to have a less than 5% rejection rate in a rail mill under the 100m high-speed rail specifications with this marketable SBIR technology. The success of this project will not only allow the US rail manufacturers to serve the expanding North America market, but also compete with suppliers from Asia and Europe for the growing markets such as South America. More importantly, the technological advancement will establish the foundation for the sustainable US-based rail manufacturing capability with substantial cost, energy and environmental benefits for the rail manufacturers, the railroad companies and the nations transportation infrastructure.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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