CoMMUTe: an intelligent heated flooring system made in MCG

THE CHALLENGE

 

To develop a prototype for a modular and multifunctional heated floor for the interior of intercity and regional trains. And for the purpose MCG mind for metal was the leading company of a consortium composed of three other companies: Amorim Cork Composites, ITeCons, and Critical Materials.

 

PROJECT STRENGTHS

 

Added value

The heated floors developed by MCG are based on tested and demonstrated modularity solutions, which can be applied in real projects very soon, reducing the total costs of the systems.

 

Reduced costs, more flexibility

This intelligent heated floors system does not add complexity of assembly to the OEM and, at the same time, is improved in design. The result: reduction of the leadtime of manufacture of the carriage from three to two days and the reduction of costs, also.

 

IoT platform

The floor is an active component of the system, featuring built-in features such as radiant heating and temperature sensors connected on an IoT platform. This is a basis for further development of smart floor panel functions to be applied to the next generation of trains: intelligent data, active safety features, and power management.

 

Optimization of raw materials

The core materials (for sandwich panels) developed are natural and/or recyclable, based on cork granulates. And the technical and specific know-how in the use of composite materials brings acoustic, thermal and vibration insulation, not forgetting the weight reduction.

 

Data management

The impact of different climatic zones on the resistance of pavement systems was taken into account, so this is a solution adjustable to different climates. A sensor system complementary to the heating system helps to obtain relevant information for the operator, being adaptable and evolutionary.

 

Supplier of excellence

Positioning itself as a strong supplier in the train interiors offer, MCG mind for metal is able to present a strong factor of differentiation compared to any competitors worldwide.

 

PROJECT NUMBERS

 

  • 1,230 hours of testing
  • 1 patent submitted
  • 5,000 hours of 3D modeling and structural calculation
  • 770 hours of development and design of manufacturing facilities
  • 2,500 hours of electronic assembly and development
  • 1,270 hours of manufacture of the various prototypes
  • 356 trials
  • 15 new test methods
  • 3 new test equipment

 

 

 

 

Leading a project of this magnitude, MCG mind for metal coordinated with the other three companies of the consortium – Amorim Cork Composites, ITeCons e Critical Materials – several objectives to achieve. And the main goal was to study and development a smart floor integrated heating system capable of reducing OEM assembly complexity and the total cost of the solution. So, this train pavement system substantially improved in the design and assembly procedures on the OEM line, allowing to reduce the lead time of manufacture of the carriage from two to three days. By comparing the results obtained at the end of the project with the predefined goals, we can see that the new floor system developed adopts a modular design that reduces the cost of the system’s lifecycle. New larger floor panels and new click systems equal to shorter assembly times for each carriage.

 

In addition, the new floor system integrates features like underfloor heating and sensors connected on an IoT platform: the floor becomes an active component of the system. This is a basis for further development of smart floor panel functions to be applied to the next generation of trains: big and intelligent data, active safety features and advanced power management. On the other hand, the optimization of raw materials was always a priority. One of the purposes of the consortium was to acquire technical and specific know-how in the use of composite materials, as well as to explore new materials for this application; so, all the work developed shows a good relationship between acoustic, thermal and vibration insulation, not to mention the reduction of weight. And it promotes the use of core materials (for sandwich panels) that are natural and/or recyclable, based on cork granulates.

 

To produce the prototype that was recently presented at the closing session in MCG mind for metal, the development of the project over several months has gone through many stages, from the initial material’s tests to mechanical, thermal, acoustic and electrical experiments. And required 3D modeling processes and FEA calculations, for example. At a final stage, various demos focused on complex technical experiments in the areas of modular assembly, studies of convection flows, simulation of smart floor platforms and IoT architecture systems. And the total numbers in all the phases of the CoMMUTe project are impressive.

 

Practical effects on the business

 

With results achieved with CoMMUTe, each company that composes the consortium get competitive advantages of the project. As a cork supplier, Amorim Cork Composites consolidates the good references of durability and technical/natural performance of its materials. In addition, Critical Materials strengthens the entry into the railway market with technology that can be integrated by third parties and used in several other projects of this kind. And ITeCons expands its partnership with MCG in the validation programs for railway pavements, as well as reinforcing the offer of experiments, tests and technical simulations – the ones that were implemented during the project and all others possible to use in the other types of pavement.

 

Now, a final word for the practical and immediate effects of MCG mind for metal position on leading the initiative. With CoMMUTe project, MCG thus strengthens several technological partnerships that have a high impact on the railway market and help to develop recycled synthetic cores for floor systems. And there’s a consequent reinforcement of valences in the design of products and solutions for heating of railway pavements, also.