Building models, one-to-one

You could say that the engineers from Voith Engineering Services did a bit of groundwork, under contract from Bombardier, to ensure that the metro in Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, will be able to bring its passengers from A to B using the new system.


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Building models, one-to-one

As the word says, a mock-up is a copy of something real – sometimes such a good copy that it is impossible to distinguish it from the real thing. But does it have to be an entire metro? Yes, it does.


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Voith Engineering Services constructs the 1:1 design model for the new Stockholm metro.

You cannot build a new train just like that.

You have to act as if. This is what you call a mock-up. A one-to-one copy of the real thing and so true to detail that you might believe the train is about to leave the station. What sounds so easy is, in truth, top-notch engineering expertise paired with a professional approach to serving customer wishes in the best way possible. Working under contract for Bombardier, Voith Engineering Services in Chemnitz constructed a mock-up of a 19-meter railway vehicle, which Bombardier will later manufacture for the Stockholm metro.

When developing the new metro train, Bombardier, the global leader in railway technology and headquartered in Canada, applied an innovative development approach which involved the final customer, the local transport section of the Stockholm Regional Council, at the earliest possible development stage of the design. As a result, modifications could be incorporated directly in the design and the metro train matched more closely to the customer’s needs. This is the practical manifestation of proximity to customers.

This is naturally just one aspect, but it is not all about design and visual appeal. In addition to aesthetic aspects, the mock-up makes functional aspects tangible: ergonomics during operation, passenger comfort, and efficient maintenance methods. In addition, barrier-free entry and egress for disabled passengers can be tested and the workplace of the driver can be presented in real life.

“For a project like this you need a partner with expertise in railway systems, someone who is absolutely reliable, and meets the highest quality standards,” says Damian Filer, project manager at Bombardier. In addition, you need a partner who can create a one-to-one model that can be used as a basis for the later stages of the design process within ten weeks. The engineers at the Voith prototype center in Chemnitz managed that and proved that building a model does not always have to be simple. But it does have to be quick.

“For a project like this you need a partner with expertise in railway systems, someone who is absolutely reliable, and meets the highest quality standards.”

Damian Filer
Project manager at Bombardier

Assembly of the mock-up begins on 400m² of space in the hall of an external workshop.

A true-to-life mock-up of a Swedish metro train is created in just ten weeks.

Mid-June 2013

In Västerås, Sweden, a team from Voith Engineering Services meets representatives of Bombardier Transportation. Voith becomes the preferred partner for the coming decision-making process, thanks to its skills in railway technology and expertise in the construction of mock-ups. But also for practical reasons: Voith has affiliated companies on location and can promise delivery of the mock-up to Sweden and its installation on-site.

July 10, 2013

The Swedish team from Bombardier arrives in Chemnitz to begin negotiations on the contract. The future partners discuss the services to be delivered, the time schedule, and the prospective scope of the contract, and close the meeting with a letter of intent to conduct the project in cooperation.

July 15, 2013

Kick-off in Chemnitz. The project manager, Andreas Silvan, presents the job to the team. It is clear to all present-the timeline is ambitious, speed and flexibility are the order of the day. Communication is crux. From now on, weekly coordination meetings are held with the Bombardier design team. This allows a rapid response to the suggestions and requests of the client.

July 18, 2013

The engineers at the Voith prototype center must react flexibly to changes in the scope of the project. From the original five-meter mid-section that was originally planned, the project now calls for almost nine meters and the interior and exterior cladding and driver’s cabin and console have yet to be added, not to mention a simplified version of the platform, which is also part of the mock-up. Voith takes the changes in its stride. Immediately, six engineers are assigned to the project instead of three.

July 22, 2013

The critical phase begins: the concepts for constructing the structural parts needed for the mock-up and chassis are drawn-up. The structural calculations are performed and design proceeds. Further sub-contractors are selected, the materials procured and the details of the manufacturing process prepared.

August 19, 2013

Manufacturing work begins on the parts. The number of welded assemblies and parts milled from wood, aluminum and steel begins to grow in Voith’s workshops. The key ingredient to the process: a high-precision 5-axis milling machine that can handle pieces as large as three by five meters.

September 16, 2013

Assembly of the mock-up begins on 400 m² of space in the hall of an external workshop.

September 30, 2013

Fredrik Björnson from Bombardier Transportation inspects the mock-up on-site at Voith in Chemnitz.

October 2, 2013

“In addition to the engineering specifications, this project places high demands on logistics and the need to meet really tight deadlines,” says Steffen Schaarschmidt, Head of prototype construction at Voith Engineering Services. The model is prepared for transport. Make three out of one: The overall length of 19 meters necessitates breaking the mock-up into three pieces.

October 6, 2013

The pieces are loaded onto special transporters for the trip from Chemnitz via Trelleborg to Västerås, about 100 km west of Stockholm. At the same time, seven prototype experts from Voith arrive to reassemble this unique piece.

October 15, 2013

Project manager, Andreas Silvan, travels to Sweden for the official handover of the mock-up to Bombardier Transportation. In a letter to Voith, Mattias Jansson, a designer at Bombardier, is effusive in his praise: “I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I think you have done a fantastic job.”

October 16, 2013

Concept design review No. 1 in Västerås. Representatives of Stockholm’s municipal transport authority see the mock-up of their future metro train for the first time. The representatives of Bombardier’s clients are unanimous in their conclusion: “A perfect basis for the upcoming discussions and decision-making.”

“In addition to the engineering specifications, this project places high demands on logistics and the need to meet really tight deadlines.”

Steffen Schaarschmidt
Head of prototype construction at Voith Engineering Services

The mock-up makes it possible to experience the aesthetic and functional aspects of the new train.

And what’s next?

The mock-up will be fine-tuned to mirror the final design over a number of stages in the coming months. The great advantage: it can be inspected, walked through and examined from all sides. The representatives of the various associations get a hands-on feel for the train and simultaneously can make suggestions for improvements.

The ideas are collated, discussed and implemented in association with Voith. Mission accomplished: the mock-up allows future user requirements to be accommodated at an early stage of the design process.

From the concept to the production –
Smart engineering competence

As an engineering partner we have extensive experience with solving demanding tasks in such a way that the results become an optimal part of the overall system and function reliably in practice from the very first day.