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26 January 2019


SkyWay infrastructure equipment

Construction of SkyWay Center as part of the Innovation Technological Park at the Sharjah Emirate is a great and complex project with numerous requirements to track structures and infrastructure facilities that must be demonstrated at the highest level. This project includes the construction of such major and significant infrastructure facilities as a U-turn circle and a turn-out switch. They allow to change the direction of traffic flows, as well as to carry out the exit of vehicles to technological tracks in parking areas and technical maintenance.

The need to develop our own design solutions arose due to the difference between SkyWay vehicles and classical railway and other transportation systems. The design of wheels and suspension dictates a number of features that should be taken into account when developing infrastructure facilities.

An example of such an object is a turn-out switch located on a reversal ring between sagging and semi-rigid track lines. The work of this switch was not demonstrated to the public previously, because it has a technological purpose within the SkyWay technology test and demonstration center. It is used to do installation of vehicles on the track structure — this is its intended purpose of use. In addition, it allows to monitor the behavior of structures under the conditions of actual use. The vehicles are dispatched to exhibitions, taken away for maintenance and rework at the production facility, returned to the track structure for testing. The turn-out switch operates in a fairly intensive mode and, most importantly, in any weather. As part of the actual challenges and in order to save funds, this design was developed as simple as possible (read "reliable"), however, it allowed to roll in the required design and technological solutions in practice. The objects in the UAE will be more complicated, because there are more requirements to them.

You will find out more about all this and not only from the video interview with Alexey Strizhenkov, Head of the Infrastructure Equipment Design Bureau at SkyWay Technologies Co.

Translation of the video:

Mikhail Kirichenko: Hello! Here is Mikhail Kirichenko with you. You are watching SkyWay news, where we report on the developments and implementation of breakthrough transport technologies. We are now at SkyWay EcoTechnoPark near Maryina Gorka on that wonderful but very frosty day talking to Alexey Strizhenkov, Head of the Infrastructure Equipment Design Bureau, SkyWay Technologies Co. Good afternoon, Alexey!

Alexey Strizhenkov: Hallo, Mikhail!

M.K.: First of all, please explain what infrastructure equipment is. You know, all our reports tell about our bundle of knowledge and experience accumulated during EcoTechnoPark construction and operation with respect to the new project in the United Arab Emirates. So, what is really infrastructure equipment?

A.S.: Infrastructure equipment includes auxiliary equipment for track structures. It is quite important, since these are U-turn circles, turn-out switches, various auxiliary equipment both for passenger stations and cargo terminals. Our equipment helps to do loading and unloading of cargo, boarding and alighting of passengers. Logistics of traffic flows is changed with them. It also includes some minor station equipment, auxiliary devices and some unstressed sections of track structures, U-turn circles or some radial parts. All of it is under the supervision of my design Bureau.

M.K.: Thank you. Right behind us there is a U-turn circle and a turn-out switch. I hope we will demonstrate today its perfect operation in this sunny, but very frosty day. I wonder if it is harder or easier to arrange its operation under tropical conditions.

A.S.: There are certain specifics there. All climatic conditions have their specifics. It is hard to say whether it is easier or harder. Everything is quite complex. It is hard to make it work in winter, it is hard to do it work perfectly in hot weather. Everything depends on the climate. If we need to do a climatic design for tropics, we'll design so that it works trouble-free in tropics.

M.K.: What is the difference between turnout design in tropical version that one made for Belarusian conditions?

A.S.: The tropical design differs in the use of components applied in the turnout, i.e. in design of drives, electric components, various lubricants that are naturally different for a cold and hot climate. The metal structure itself will be hardly different. Of course, the used materials will be different. Certain metals will be used for a cold climate, like, for example, in the Extreme North. Other ones may be used for tropics. However, the general structure will not change due to it. Just the climatic design of the purchased elements will be different.

M.K.: Thank you. And what is the function of a turnout in general? I mean the purpose of use.

A.S.: A turn-out switch performs redirection of traffic flows. If we want to change a transport direction, we can do it only using certain devices: either a turnout or a U-turn circle. These are logistics devices, i.e. they allow us to change the logistics of transportation flows.

M.K.: Well, we have a test section here. I hope you will tell us about the purpose of our turnout and then explain to us what particularly you are designing for the Arab Emirates. As I know the sphere to use our technology will be much wider there. Not only a test site, but also urban routes, etc. Comment on it, please.

A.S.: Naturally. Our development passes on a "simple-to-complex" basis. Here at EcoTechnoPark, we did our best to exhibit everything at lower expenses and less efforts. We just wanted to demonstrate the spheres to apply our structures and units. Right here you can see the reversal section between two track lines: sagging and semi-rigid ones. They are connected with a turnaround section, sort of a semi-ring. Respectively, we can see here a radial unstressed section with a built-in sliding turnout that allows us to work out the structure, mechanics and general operational principles. Actually, it is a technological turnout, since there is no other track structure here, to which we transfer traffic flow. We have traffic on the radial section only. The purpose of the turnout is purely technological. In order to do assembling and dismantling of vehicles on a track structure, we have made a short dead-end section. Vehicles are directed to it through the turnout. All our actions while testing, replacing vehicles, technical maintenance are carried out through this turnout to the dead-end branch. Accordingly, we have mastered here the structure, operational principles and viability. It operates under any conditions: in summer and winter, like today under frost. We can watch its operation; it does not stand idle functioning constantly, because vehicles are often running here. Some of them are dispatched to exhibitions, others — to the factory for improvement or certification. New vehicles also arrive here for testing. All of it is done through this turn-out switch. It is sufficiently loaded and we can constantly observe its operation and efficiency.

M.K.: What about the efficiency. Any problems or failures? In fact, it has been operating for several months or even years now.

A.S.: Right. It has been running for about two years now.

M.K.: What is its reliability?

A.S.: Its reliability is high. We had some minor problems with the control system, with the control box. We have fixed them. The general principles and mechanics are quite simple here. It is a sliding section with straight and radial parts on it. The mechanics itself is quite simple and reliable, therefore, we didn't have any failures or breakdowns so far. However, we have durability testing ahead. We have to check it in a heavier duty of loading, its durability. These tests are ahead for us.

M.K.: And what have you already done and designed for the project in the United Arab Emirates?

A.S.: As for the project in the United Arab Emirates, we have considerably greater plans. We have two major infrastructural logistics projects there. These are a turn-out switch, which will somehow inherit the principles of the sliding turnout we can see here, and a U-turn circle. Both these devices will change the direction of traffic flows, perform redirection of vehicles or a reverse of vehicles at the U-turn circle. They will have unstressed radial and reversal sections, too. In addition, there is a lot of other various equipment, including that for stations.

M.K.: Thank you very much for a comprehensive explanation. Sign up to our YouTube channel. Follow the news update at our official website. Support our project. And then you will have no reason to throw a switch on anybody.


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