Demonstrating British engineering is world-class

Across the world, modern trains are getting faster and rail networks are getting busier which means the rails of rail networks are under greater stress and demand. Therefore, the track needs to be inspected regularly to prevent any major accidents.

Iain Veitch, rail engineer at Sperry which manufactures test systems for the rail industry, explains how rapid prototyping demonstrates British engineering is world-class.

“Engineering and production standards in the UK rival the best the world has to offer regarding efficiency, economy and service.

“When we’re testing the railway lines to ensure they’re safe, we aim for the highest quality of testing – using innovative technologies which are pushing the limits of non-destructive testing – balanced with the speeds at which tests can be conducted.

The process

“We partner with a product development, toolmaking and precision engineering partner, Tekniplaz. They use the same CAD system as us which helps: SolidWorks. We can email them with a full 3D CAD model and within minutes they’re feeding back their specialist thoughts on our design, any potential issues and the best production methods and materials.

“Tekniplaz flag up any issues, generally at the start and they’re also good at keeping you in the loop throughout the design and production process. You can go weeks and not hear from other precision engineering supplier. Time ticks away and then we’ve missed the window of opportunity when they fail to deliver in time.

“A three-month turnaround from concept to a working precision system is an astonishing accomplishment by any means, however it’s great working with a proper partner who really understands time matters.

“But where Tekniplaz has proved really exceptional is the work they’ve done with our innovation group regarding testing for higher speeds.

From design to working in 72 hours

In one case, they examined our improved design and then we developed it together, locked it down, 3D-printed the actual precision component and, within 72 hours, the final product was on a track being tested in China to confirm theoretical principles.

“Jobs and test system orders are usually won through tenders. You must deliver on time in this industry to keep network operators happy. It is further critical to deliver on time to avoid financial penalties in some cases.

“Being able to rely on your suppliers to deliver when they say they will is such a simple thing but it seems many struggle with just that. Tekniplaz has never let us down. That’s a massive advantage over their competitors along with their professional administration, quotations and invoicing.”

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