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Our SkyWay people: Rolling Stock Administration

Микроразметка статьи

The News service continues to introduce you to the employees of the Design organization CJSC « String Technologies». Today, we introduce you to Andrey Dmitriyevich Zaitsev, the Head of the Rolling Stock Administration.

- Good Afternoon, Andrey Dmitriyevich! Could you tell us, please, what the employees of your Administration are engaged with?

- The main task of the Administration is the development of the rolling stock. The whole process of a vehicle's development is divided into stages or thematic working areas, which essentially determines the presence of different Design Bureaux of the certain direction.

There are four main Design Bureaux in the Administration: «Layout», «Chassis», «Vehicle Bodywork» and «Electrical Equipment». The fifth Design Bureau is the On-Board Control Systems, and there are two more Bureaux of Functional System Analysis and Operational Documentation.

- What kind of specialists work in the Bureaux?

These are engineers and designers. Five subdivisions are called Design Bureaux and two – simply the Bureaux. The first four Bureaux employ design engineers with a variety of additional specializations, such as a mechanical design engineer or an electrical design engineer. All of them are engaged in design and development.

The software engineers are most of the staff in the Bureau of On-Board Control Systems. They are engaged in writing programme code and developing vehicle's control systems. Today, they solve the problem of developing and improving the On-Board Control System, which is responsible for individual control of a single module. The Autonomous system has a connection with the Central control system, which is being developed in another Administration of Intelligent Systems. It also solves the problem of interaction with other vehicles, i.e. their communication with each other.

One of the two Bureaux which are not Design ones is the Operational Documentation Bureau. It employs professionals whose task is to describe how to handle our transport in a convenient form for a consumer. The Bureau is not directly involved in the design and creation of the transport, it prepares the accompanying documents: operating manuals, product passports, forms, spare parts catalogues, thus creating the basis for the development of the technological documentation for operation and repair documentation.

The second Bureau without the the word «design» is the Bureau of Functional and System Analysis, and it is partly involved in the creation of the construct, but not directly. The tasks of the Bureau are the formation and management of technical requirements for the design, carrying out functional and cost analysis, determining the risks arising at all stages (development, production, operation), as well as the description of scenarios «behavior» of the vehicle, and drawing up algorithms of its systems.

- And what about reducing the stages of development to the life cycle concept?

- At the level of ideas, while defining the future shape of the product, there begins the joint work of the Bureau «Layout» and the Bureau of the Functional and System Analysis. The main figure in the whole process here is the specialist, responsible for the layout. When developing a specific product of the rolling stock, he is in the role of the Chief Designer. The designers from another Bureaux join him. These «three pillars» begin the process of creating the vehicle.

Тhen, the pre-design study begins, the sketch project is drawn, where the primary technical requirements are already formed; the sketch design project and preliminary layout are created. The traction-dynamic calculation is carried out, the operational parameters (passenger capacity, carrying capacity), weight, dimensions of the future vehicle, are determined. Several variants of sketches are created, the design review of the sketch project is conducted, during which the option for the further development is selected, and the phase of the technical project begins.

During the technical project phase, additional calculations are carried out, the layout and design are refined, and the transition from sketches to a full-fledged 3d model in the 3DExperience environment takes place. At this stage, some other Bureaux, such as «Chassis», «Electrical Equipment», «Vehicle Bodywork» «On-board Control Systems» join the work; certain employees are designated to the project from each subdivision. By the end of this stage, we have the almost completed digital layout of the product at the level of its volumes and shapes, the principal and functional schemes of control systems and electrical equipment.

The next stage is creating a working project. It is the phase, during which the design of components and systems in full is conducted, and the working design documentation is getting ready. The design is carried out mainly by the basic Design Bureaux, whereas the layout task is linking all systems and components in the most efficient and rational way, to ensure the use of the least amount of materials and to simplify the design. The convenience, money and time spent on operation and maintenance should always be taken into consideration. At the stage of working design documentation registration, there is conducted the development and approval of drawings by the technological service and regulatory control.

At the output, we get a digital layout: a twin of the future product and a set of working design documentation, which are sent to the production for manufacturing (sales).

The subsequent stages of development work, up to certification, are under the direct control of our specialists. What for? To achieve two simple goals: on the one hand, to get a ready-made vehicle that fully meets the requirements of the customer, and on the other hand, to get a set of serial design documentation and, accordingly, the certificate.

- And how many people work in the Rolling Stock Administration?

- Since the beginning of 2019 – 79 people.

- Who comes up with new vehicles? Your employees? Or is the main idea proposed by the General Designer, and you are already developing it?

-Тhe Idea of new vehicles or directionс in which to work is determined by the General Designer. That is, it took us a while to develop a number of vehicles.   I could also assume that the General Designer had conceived the entire product line long ago.

- Could you remember the very first vehicle you developed?

The first designed one was the monorail Unibus, but it was harshly «overtaken» by the Unibike as the most relevant at that moment module of the rolling stock. They were made almost simultaneously and together went to our first major international exhibition InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin.

- Do you work with other Administrations?

We work closely with almost all departments and administrations. The «nearest» to us is the subdivision of transport flyovers, as we, in fact, run on laquo;their» rails.

Our main colleagues are also designers (at the stage of product creation), the Administration of Intelligent Systems (Transport Modules Administration), the Design Bureaus «Power Supply and Automation» (in terms of power supply of our tracks and vehicles), the Design Bureau with the Pilot Production of Electric Drives (a developer, manufacturer and supplier of traction drive elements and on-board electronics).

We also cross paths with designers and architects in terms of landing platforms, service areas, depots, as our Bureau of Operational Documentation works with them on the formation of requirements.

We work with the Department of Materials Supply, which buys everything necessary for the product. And of course, we closely work with the Special Design and Technology Bureau with pilot production, which manufactures and assembles a prototype, and with the testers who conduct tests.

- Could you tell us about the main plans for 2019?

-The priority task is SWIC [SkyWay Innovation Centre in Sharjahx, editor's note.].

We are also developing and manufacturing a self-propelled chassis and a prototype of the high-speed Unibus with a 1000-mm track for further testing at the EcoTechnoPark.

In addition, our Administration is still supporting previously released vehicles which are at different stages and are being prepared for handing-over for operation. There are tasks for design support, there are improvements caused by the operational tests, which have already begun. But in terms of designing new technology, we are focusing on SWIC.

- What technical features of the SkyWay transport modules distinguish them from traditional transport?

In the first place, I would say that they're completely different: ours are principally new vehicles, which do not need standard roads. This transport is on the «second» level, that is, it is running above the ground. This is due to the design features: firstly, the modules are lightweight, and secondly, they are compact. And, of course, they have a unique aerodynamic shape, which is dictated by the need to reduce air resistance when on the move.

In terms of control, they are automatic, using the technologies that do not require the presence of a person who performs the function of additional control of the control system.

As for the drive, the modules use an electric drive, some models are powered by a track structure, some – by on-board power sources.

All modules are passenger friendly, comfortable and very safe. On our tracks, there are no extra participants, and the control system is automatic, which eliminates the human factor. In the event of an accident, failure of a single module, which in itself is unlikely, all particularly important systems on board are duplicated. But, supposably, something breaks. In this case, there exists the algorithm for the evacuation of the vehicle by neighboring cars going behind or in front, when there is an automatic coupling, and the failed module is towed to the service and repair area, while passengers are disembarked at the station.

- Could you tell us what vehicles will be presented at the SkyWay Innovation Centre?

 - The future variety will be represented by the following models: Unicar-T, mounted Unicont (later, there will be designed the suspended Unicont); in parallel with it, there will be the passenger suspended jointed double-rail Unibus with large capacity; and later, there will appear its mounted «colleague».

In addition, there will be two Unitrucks, suspended and mounted one, for the transportation of large volumes of bulk cargo.

It is also worth remembering about the possibility of changes in the model range of vehicles at the Innovation Centre, depending on the requirements of the customer.

- Will all new vehicles be in a tropical version and next to their titles, there will be the letter «T»?

 - Yes, all vehicles will be adapted to other, hotter conditions. With regard to «Unicar-T», it is the working title, the vehicle will be released into the world, as the model U4-431-01.

Of course, if this letter takes root, then, we can add it to all the modules of the tropical version: Unicont-T, Unibus-T, and so on. But, at the moment, you need to understand that this is not a part of the commercial title.

- What can you call the most difficult part of your work?

- Our main rival is time. There are practically no unsolvable engineering problems in nature, but to be able to implement the project in a short time is not an easy task.

As an example: we have achieved compliance with the requirements for electric vehicles on electromagnetic compatibility. We are developing a new type of transport, which has no analogues; and this includes systems of electrical equipment, control and electric drive, assembled from scratch. Electromagnetic compatibility is difficult to assess and analyze in a virtual and calculated way, so we have to deal with the consequences in practice, while assembling and testing the prototype.

Each model developed by us is unique in some way. If you take the power structures, body framings, traction modules, frame, they are different each time. These are absolutely different new vehicles each time.

Multitasking can also be associated with certain difficulties. We have a lot of parallel developments, subdivisions and people. As a manager, I have to adapt. The first three years, we were growing gradually, and in the last year the number of our employees has doubled. That means it is a must to restructure on time to grow the very team on which I can later rely and trust, delegate authority. Today, I do not have enough time to engage in constructive and creative work, as I have to focus on management and strategic issues.

- But you're «constructing» your team! Could you tell us about the atmosphere in the team?

 - In my opinion, in terms of professional training, friendliness and cohesion, everything is fine in my Administration. In the terms of staff turnover, it is one of the lowest in the company, according to my personal estimates. Since my arrival, only two people have left or been fired in 4 years. In my opinion, it is a certain indicator of the team spirit./p>

- Do males prevail in your team?

- Yes, from 79 people, there are only 10 members of the fair sex. I personally consider this balance should prevail.

When we started, there was actually only one girl in the entire Administration. However, we noticed that with the female staff appearance in the Bureau, the atmosphere was getting better and better. And even in such a genuinely male Bureau as «Chassis», there was relatively recently employed a girl engineer.

Yes, all of our design engineers, regardless of gender, are people who really love their job and work according to their specialities.

- Here is my last question: Do you have a favorite vehicle developed by your Administration?

- I love all of them lile children, whom should be loved equally. But at the same time, I think and am sure that the best vehicle has not been created yet, and its design and development is still ahead!

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