University of Huddersfield and DB Cargo UK team up for innovation

The University of Huddersfield, in Yorkshire in the north of England, and rail freight operator DB Cargo UK have announced a new framework for research and innovation collaboration. The academic institution and the freight carrier have an existing relationship, developing industrial applications for joint work.

This new collaboration between academia and industry will allow the University of Huddersfield and DB Cargo UK to advance the industrial application of fundamental research and innovation, through the utilisation of the University’s dedicated capabilities in rail.

Improve the efficiency maintenance

Announced this week, the first stage of the new collaboration will see the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) join with DB Cargo UK to deliver what the partners have called a pipeline of innovation for the rail freight industry. The collaboration is supported by the IRR’s latest project, the European Regional Development Fund for Leeds City Region (ERDF LCR) Smart Rolling Stock Maintenance Research Facility (SRSMRF). The collaboration will focus on research to improve the efficiency of freight wagon and locomotive maintenance by working with the SRSMRF’s research fellows and a range of industry partners across the rail supply chain.

A large proportion of the institute’s research is of special relevance to the agendas of safety, sustainability and carbon reduction. They also work in new materials, manufacturing technologies and systems of maintenance and condition-monitoring to help increase cost-effectiveness for rail operators -such as their pioneering work on low impact bogies back in 2017. Of interest to infrastructure management, the Institute is working to help with the transition to electrification hoping by research to make overhead power distribution much more efficient and reliable.

Better links with industry

The institute recently expanded its team to ten researchers, on the back of a deal with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB). Now they are strengthening their relationships with carriers in the industry. ”We are looking forward to working with DB Cargo”, said Professor Gareth Tucker, SRSMRF Principal Investigator. “[We hope] to identify methods to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of wagon and locomotive maintenance using our facilities and expertise in robotics and automation, remote condition monitoring and operations management.”

Marie Hill of DB Cargo UK and Gareth Tucker of the University of Huddersfield (DB Cargo UK / IRR image)

Marie Hill, who acts as DB Cargo UK’s Chief Transformation and Digitalisation Officer, says they are proud to be deepening their relationship with the University of Huddersfield, which she noted that since the launch of the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN) has gone from strength to strength.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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