Elomatic designs trams for Škoda Transtech with patented coupling solution that takes maintenance safety to a new level

Škoda Transtech needed an experienced partner to carry out mechanical design and structural calculations for 80 modern trams ordered by the German transport company Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr (RNV). The partner selected for this demanding task was Elomatic, with whom cooperation had been seamless. The end result was a modular, manufacturing-efficient design and an advanced coupling solution between the bogie and body structure.

Finnish company Škoda Transtech, a member of Škoda Transportation Group, received a welcome order from German transport company RNV for 80 trams consisting of three or more cars. The technical solution had to be based on Artic trams. Since the models had to be modified to fit the new dimensions, a partner was needed for the design work. Škoda Transtech selected Elomatic, with which it had previous cooperation experience.

Designing modern trams is challenging, because the welded vehicle is exposed to a wide range of loads during its long life, in addition to which the structure must also be as light as possible. The design of trams must also comply with a wide range of regulations, for example regarding accessibility.

Benefits from close collaboration between mechanical design and structural calculations

The project began with the conceptual design of the steel frame and bogie structure. Based on that, Elomatic’s designers continued to design the carriage structure in more detail. In addition, the company produced load analyses in accordance with the requirements of Škoda Transtech.

“From Elomatic, we received both mechanical design and technical calculations from the same supplier. Thanks to that, we were able to agree on everything in one meeting,” says Antti Savolainen, Project Operation Manager at Škoda Transtech.

“Everything progresses much more rapidly when design and structural calculation work is done side by side,” adds Arto Sampo, Director at Elomatic.

Modular structure streamlines manufacturing

Experienced professionals from Elomatic were involved in the project, which was reflected in the final result.

“Elomatic’s designers did an excellent job in a fast and solution-oriented way. They were actively involved in solving problems and bringing good ideas to the table,” Savolainen says.

For example, Elomatic’s experts designed the carriage structure to be modular. This allows Škoda Transtech to efficiently assemble the necessary units from the smallest possible number of carriage modules.

“The modular structure is very effective, and we will no doubt continue to work with this solution,” Savolainen adds.

Design work also creates a patented solution

Between the bogey and the body structure, the designers developed an innovative coupling solution that is so unique that Škoda Transtech applied for patent protection.

“The new coupling solution facilitates maintenance by making removing and attaching the bogeys easier and faster, which also improves safety,” Sampo explains.

“The patented solution has performed excellently in tests,” Savolainen confirms.

Effective teamwork serves as the basis

The teamwork within the multinational environment went well right from the outset.

“We held regular team meetings, as well as weekly video meetings with the project and design organization in Czechia,” Sampo says, describing their cooperation during the product development phase.

Although the design project is now over, Elomatic is still serving as a partner in the change planning of the manufacturing phase. According to Sampo, Elomatic’s development proposals have helped streamline manufacturing. Savolainen particularly praises Elomatic’s speed and ability to react.

“Our cooperation has been smooth and open throughout, and we still communicate daily,” Savolainen says.

Professional pride shines through in project

Škoda Transtech has now delivered six trams to RNV. In the future, they and the 74 trams still under construction will operate on the Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg routes. The modern trams will connect the three German federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate.

“Sometimes I forget how important our work is when we design a product that can move people in an environmentally friendly way in Europe’s big cities,” says Antti Savolainen from Škoda Transtech.

“The end customer has been very satisfied with the quality,” he adds.

Arto Sampo from Elomatic also says that he is proud of his team’s work in this international project.

“We have to thank our experts for their motivated and unyielding work. The professional pride of this team has really shone through in this project!”