Pantograph-Catenary Interaction Framework for Active Control (PACIFIC)

Project Details


The Pantograph-Catenary (PAC) system is almost universally used for supplying the vital power to railway electrical trains. Although it is considered to be a cost-effective option, its reliability has been called into question and this important link in the railway power supply chain has been identified as a repeated cause of train failure faults. As train speeds increase, the reliability of power collection decreases; there is also a concomitant increase in the potential for accelerated component wear and failure.

The project involved researching and developing simulation and hardware platforms for the evaluation of conventional and intelligent control systems, focusing on maintaining contact pressure of a railway pantograph on its associated catenary line.

Researchers used SIMPACK, a Multi-Body Simulation (MBS) software, for the dynamic analysis of the Pantograph-Catenary system. It enabled our engineers to generate and solve virtual 3D models in order to test new materials, understand the problems of wear and tear, validate control-command strategies and evaluate the effects of breakdowns.

This comprehensive two-year study helped us to improve and optimise the PAC system without having to resort to heavy and costly experimental studies involving live tests or test runs.
Effective start/end date1/01/1031/12/11


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