One of the most innovative research projects in the field of green mobility and logistics is implemented by evico as the system supplier and expert for magnetic levitation.
New means of urban transportation and logistics will become realistic with superconducting magnetic bearings. Superconductivity is the basis for a magnetic levitation technology that is working without electronic control but with attracting and repelling forces to levitate a vehicle pendant or standing upright. Electromagnetic turnout switches will change the route of a vehicle in spit seconds without the need of moving mechanical parts. Perfect conditions for the idea of rail-bound private transport - Individual cabins requested call by call for 4 - 8 passengers will levitate noiseless to the chosen destination. Cabins can form chains of cars on their route and release single cabins by magnetic switches. This saves energy and travel time.
The heart of the superconducting bearing consists of a magnet rail and of high temperature superconductor blocks (HTSL) which are located in the vehicle in cold vessels (cryostats). For operation the superconductor blocks must be cooled to a temperature of -196 °C. While cooling the superconductors arranged in a defined distance to the magnet rail they memorize magnetic field of the rail. This enables them to hold a certain position crosswise to the rail inherently. Their superconductive working temperature is guaranteed in cryostats, currently by cooling with liquid nitrogen.
Superconductor materials have the property to conduct electrical currents with zero resistivity as well as to push out magnetic flux from their body. The new High-Temperature-Superconductors can accept the penetration of magnetic flux by concentrating the flux in individual flux lines. These flux lines can be pinned at defects that are introduced in the material by purpose. This way it is possible to store the magnetic field of a magnetic rail while cooling the superconductor below its critical temperature. A displacement of the superconductor from its initial cooling position causes repelling forces that keep the superconductor levitating in its cooling position.
In recent times magnetic bearings become more and more important. Electromagnets transfer contactless forces and enable rotating or lateral movement. The generation of the required guiding forces in this magnetic bearings requires a costly measuring and control technology.
Essentially one can solve both with superconductive magnet bearings. With massive superconductors and a simple magnetic track one can achieve levitation effects free from any friction.
With the first SupraTrans-project saxonian scientists and engineers from Baumüller Kamenz, Cideon engineering, the Dresden public transport company, ELBAS Ingeniergesellschaft mbH, Dresden University of Applied Science, Leibniz-Institue for Solid State and Materials Research (IFW Dresden) and the Dresden University of Technology have made a 1st step towards the new maglev system. The vehicle designed by the pool of companys and institutes floats on a 7 m long test track with a levitation gap of 15 mm above the guideway. It can lift 2-3 passengers. The vehicle is propulsion by a linear motor. The demonstrator was introduced to the public in 2004.
The aim of the works on SupraTrans II - The Test Drive Facility is the test of vehicle and driveway components of a superconductive beared magnetic levitation system for passenger or cargo transport under realistic operation conditions.
In a factory-work-floor in Dresden-Niedersedlitz has been constructed an 80-m-long test and demonstration track in the shape of an oval circuit (see figure) with an turnout and a vehicle on which passengers or goods can be transported.
The facility is characterized by the following features:
- Bended driveway segments (curves)
- Control systems for simultaneous operation of multiple vehicles
- Continuous non-contact energy supply of the vehicles
- Driveway intersection (turnout)
- second braking system
In the SupraTrans II project, evico is responsible for all project steps from the development of an efficient manufacturing technology of the guideway to propulsion, energy management, control systems and even the vehicle dress. evico can rely on its network of 3rd party experts and qualified suppliers.
A fascinating new technology also gives the chance to develop new transportation concepts and solutions and to find new creative shapes. That´s why evico collaborates with the faculty of design of the Dresden University of Applied Sciences to create a body for SupraTrans II that fulfills the requirements of a vehicle for testing and visitor-carrying but also motivates an application-scenario of a gate-to-gate shuttle for airline passengers in modern hubs. The drafts were evolved by Alexander Müller during his bachelor thesis and are currently fabricated in glass-fiber reinforced plastic in real scale.
The presented draft has a dynamical and organical appearance. The grilled "functional cells" enable with their transparent structure the insight into the technology behind and the working principles for those who are interested. The track-bound motion of the vehicle is motivated by the shape of the front and rear which reminds on a catamaran. Further, the open access invites passengers to take a seat. The wedge-like shape of the vehicle shows a strong drive in forward direction.
The concept shows a modular maglev system that could operate in 2025. Passengers travel in autonomous individual modules for 70 to 80 people in a highly branched network.
A single module is taking the direct route to its destination without intermediate stops. On its journey it may couple with other modules which are using the same track segment at the same time to form an efficient chain of cars. The chain will be released according to the route of lines and the destinations of individual modules. The time-consuming stopover can be avoided if passengers change trains during the journey at high speed. If a passenger is not in the appropriate module according to his destination, he can change the module during the coupling-phases of different cars. He will be guided by a personal information management system.
The concept was made at the center of technical design at the University of Technology in the frame of a diploma-thesis of Thomas Bühner and in cooperation with the IFW Dresden and evico GmbH.