Fire-retardant vibration protection for rail vehicles impresses the jury
Bregenz/Buers. On 29th September in Montforthaus Feldkirch, Getzner was awarded the 2016 Vorarlberg Innovation Prize for its Sylomer® FR material. Getzner's vibration-isolating material, based on polyurethane, is a world first as it meets the highest fire protection standards for rail vehicles.
On 29th September 2016 in Montforthaus in Feldkirch the Governor of Vorarlberg, Markus Wallner, honoured Getzner with the Vorarlberg Innovation Prize. Getzner impressed the jury with its Sylomer® FR material. This is predominantly used in the floor constructions of rail vehicles to reduce vibrations and noise. The remarkable thing about Sylomer® FR is that it is the first polyurethane-based vibration protection in the world that meets the highest fire protection standards for rail vehicles. “In March 2016 the new European fire protection standard for rail vehicles EN 45545-2 came into effect, dramatically increasing fire-protection requirements and replacing all local safety standards. We realised early on that the safety requirements of railway construction were going to increase dramatically and began to develop the fire-retardant polyurethane (PU) material Sylomer® FR as far back as 2009. In contrast to other suppliers, we are now ready and able to install our materials in trains to these standards,” says Juergen Rainalter, Chief Executive Officer of Getzner. He continued “our vibration-isolating materials were unique even then, in terms of mechanical and physical characteristics. However, it took four years of development to achieve the optimum level of flammability. The material demonstrates Getzner's innovative capacity.” Sylomer® FR is already used in Swiss and Italian local transit, in German locomotives and in Hitachi trains in the United Kingdom. A total of six innovative companies from Vorarlberg were awarded the prize.
The award-winning polyurethane material, Sylomer® FR, reduces structure-borne noise, sound and vibrations in the passenger compartments of trains. “The vibration protection absorbs shocks. Passengers and staff benefit from increased comfort – quiet and modern rail vehicles increase acceptance of public rail transport and promote the trend 'from the roads to the rails'. An elastically mounted carriage floor is also an advantage for the train's interior: fewer vibrations mean a longer service life and lower maintenance costs for the equipment. Sylomer® FR's extremely fire-retardant qualities dramatically increase safety. Another advantage is that despite its minimal thickness, the material is highly efficient, which allows for a reduction in the height of the carriage floor. Over the average working life of 30 years, this has an influence on the aerodynamics and the energy usage of the train and it saves on installation costs,” says Juergen Rainalter. Getzner customers who wish to change to the new material according to EN 45545-2 standards can do so without any design modifications.
A team of six employees from six departments worked on the development of the fire-retardant PU foam over a four-year period. For Getzner this project meant a huge amount of investment: a new dosing system on a pilot-plant scale for solid dosing and a specially designed fire chamber for evaluating formulations were installed in-house. “The investment also entailed risks. We put many personal and financial resources into the development, even though success was not guaranteed. Without a positive conclusion, the entire turnover for floating floors in rail cars would have been obsolete,” reports Juergen Rainalter about the development phase, adding “we are all the more pleased that we can now offer our globally unique material, which is technically better and cheaper than our competitors' products.” The material Sylomer® FR confirms Getzner's market position and opens up new business fields to the company in both rail vehicle construction and in ship and yacht building, as well as in other sectors.