Rail Components and Their Materials

Analysing Rail Components and Their Materials

Rail Components

RP Technologies has helped to bring to market a variety of rail applications over the years.

As aluminium tooling and plastic injection moulding specialists, we have partnered with some of the biggest rail companies in the UK and Europe to produce a range of specialist components.

Each component has been precisely manufactured to achieve tight tolerances and to conform to industry regulations.

Here are some of the types of plastic injection moulded components that we’ve produced….

  • Rail pads
  • Plastic dowels
  • External panelling
  • External cladding
  • Seating components
  • Tray table components
  • Housing for lighting features
  • Display enclosures
  • Guide rail brackets
  • Housing covers
  • Junction boxes
Complex Plastic Component For Rail

We can manufacture a range of these components as part of our rapid turnaround service, RP Rapid, which supplies tooling and parts in as little as 7 business days.

As well as low-medium volume production, we also produce functional prototypes in any production intent polymer. This gives customers the flexibility to test out designs before committing to full scale production.

Types of Materials Used in the Manufacture of Rail Components

Engineered plastics are ideal for use in the rail industry. They have a number of properties and characteristics which provide essential advantages for the manufacture of rail components and parts.

Utilising engineering plastics for rail applications provides the following benefits:

Plastic Polymers Green
  • High efficiency: Lightweight plastic supports greater efficiency and reduces the weight of the vehicle, thereby reducing fuel consumption. We’ve manufactured static load-bearing rail components from glass fibre-reinforced plastics with a density of 1.85g/cm³, thus saving about 30% of the weight compared to metal (2.7g/cm³)
  • Weather resistance: many engineered plastics are weather resistant to sunlight, rain, and snow, making them the perfect choice for exterior components and fittings
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Fire protection properties: many high engineered plastics meet the European standard EN 45545, which governs the requirements for fire protection within trains and trams
  • Good insulation properties, including thermal, acoustic, and electrical insulation
  • Engineering grades with high cosmetic finishes provide an aesthetically pleasing environment, which can increase passenger satisfaction and experience

In recent years, the UK rail industry has invested significantly in technological advancements. 

Specifically, there has been an increasing emphasis on improving trains by offering higher speeds, higher load carrying capabilities, and a more comfortable travelling experience.

The pursuit of these objectives has resulted in improvements in efficiencies. To achieve greater efficiency, rail industry manufacturers have moved more towards the use of high performance grades of plastic polymers, such as Nylon, PTFE, Polyethylene, and UHMWPE.

These plastics have a range of properties which make them particularly suitable for the manufacture of rail components and equipment. For instance, they are wear resistant, strong, and efficient.

Polypropylene and Polycarbonate based solutions are also common in the rail manufacturing sector. 

Polypropylene is easy to process, durable, and halogen-free. It also has excellent resistance to chemicals, which makes it an ideal material for internal cabin fixtures and fittings which require regular cleaning.

Polycarbonate is tough and transparent, and it can maintain rigidity in different temperatures. It has excellent impact properties and is ideal for seating, window surrounds, cladding, and overhead components. 

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