FIBERLINE Composites staff are travelling to Berlin with samples of GRP composite fairings and other components of the sort the company has supplied to AnsaldoBreda for use on Los Angeles light rail vehicles.

’As part of our continuous efforts to cut weight, we are keeping an eye on developments elsewhere in the transport sector. And in the car industry there is a clear trend towards increased use of composites. The Smart Car is an example,’ explains Angelo Rabuzzi of AnsaldoBreda. ’We are already using hand-laminated composite parts inside our trains, but we could also use pultruded profiles instead. These are more stable, and also lighter’.

Carlo Cerrone of AnsaldoBreda’s research and development department says the composite panels are less susceptible to weathering and corrosion than metal equivalents. ’Aluminium panels have to be painted and properly protected, which is a time-consuming process. Corner profiles in particular can be a problem that demands additional attention. As aluminium panels dent and scratch easily, they can quickly develop into a maintenance problem.

’In the future we will design the profiles so that we can combine several different parts into a single product, and the next step could be to use pultruded profiles in the structure itself.’

CAPTION: Now part of International Railway Systems (p615), Romanian rolling stock maker Astra Vagoane Calatori SA will be attending InnoTrans to promote the latest developments in its range of rolling stock and components, and discuss opportunities for further co-operation on export projects