Phenolic prepreg finds home in Bombardier passenger trains

Ipeco Composites uses ACG's phenolic prepreg to mold standback for Bombardier's Class 379 Electrostar EMU trains. The material provides 40 percent weight savings compared to wet layup.

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Phenolic prepreg from Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, U.K.), a member of Umeco Composites Structural Materials (UCSM) – a division of Umeco plc, has been deemed a success for standbacks manufactured by Ipeco Composites (Clevedon, U.K.) for Bombardier Transportation’s Class 379 Electrostar EMU Passenger Trains, operated by National Express on its Stansted Airport rail link.

Ipeco Composites recently manufactured 960 standbacks for Bombardier Transportation, U.K., using ACG’s MTM82S-C phenolic prepreg which meets the requirements of BS6853 Cat.1a, the standard governing the fire performance of rail rolling stock.

Ipeco has a history of manufacturing phenolic prepreg structures for the aircraft industry, thus it was a natural progression for the company to extend its expertise to the railway industry. All units passed Bombardier Transportation’s rigorous quality approval process, a key factor being the superior dimensional tolerances prepreg molding offers in comparison to wet layup processes. The autoclaved MTM82S-C standbacks were installed by Bombardier without rework, thus reducing onsite labor costs and contributing to the quality and timely delivery of this fleet of trains.

National Express, Bombardier Transportation’s client, will benefit from reduced in-service operation and maintenance costs brought about through a significant weight saving and the robust nature of prepreg composite parts. At only 6.4 kg/14.1 lb per unit, the standbacks provide a 40 percent weight reduction over a typical 10.5-kg/23.1-lb wet layup structure.

In addition to BS6853 Cat.1a, MTM82S-C is qualified to the following fire performance specifications: BS 467 Part 6 and 7, NF P 92-501 Rating M1, NF F 16-101 Rating F1 and DIN 5510 Rating S4, SR2, ST2. MTM82S-C, suitable for both monolithic and sandwich structures, can be autoclaved, press molded or oven/vacuum bag (out-of-autoclave) processed, and can be supplied on a range of fabrics and fibres.

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