Downer EDI Rail, Australia - CQ06 Sunlander 14 Prepreg Train Front End

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Downer EDI Rail, Australia - CQ06 Sunlander 14 Prepreg Train Front End

Project duration: 2012 – 2013

The Queensland Rail Sunlander 14 Tilt Train, which will run between Brisbane and Cairns, Australia, entered passenger service in mid-2014. The train is designed and built by Downer Rail, a leading provider and maintainer of passenger and freight rolling stock in Australia with over 100 years’ experience.

PCT was commissioned for this challenging project because of their unique blend of experience with prepreg systems, high accuracy machined tooling and extensive quality control systems. The brief was to produce eight front-end modules to Downer’s low target weight and exacting specification whilst delivering high impact resistance to ensure driver safety on the unfenced Queensland rail network.

PCT worked alongside Downer to design and engineer a prepreg laminate for the front end parts that used carbon and glass fibres combined with a toughened epoxy resin system. In choosing prepreg laminates, and in particular the choice to use a large amount of carbon fibre prepregs, the designers were able to deliver the all-important ballistic and impact performance whilst keeping the panel weights to the absolute minimum. All laminate combinations were produced as test panels at PCT and sent to Australia for testing to the 49 CFR 223 Type II and BR 566:1989 Type II impact requirements.

The scope was to supply a complete set of composite tooling, validate test panel performance and then produce eight new composite cab front ends. All tooling and production parts were to be supplied with comprehensive CMM inspection reports using PCT’s Leica laser tracking system.

With highly accurate tooling being a key project requirement, PCT was able to use its 5-axis milling machine to produce one piece master plugs before infusing epoxy mould tools from the plugs. The largest mould is measuring 3m x 3m x 3m

The cab front parts were laminated using a combination of a carbon fibre prepreg with high performance SAN foam core and glass fibre prepreg with an aluminium honeycomb core.