EuroBrake Advisory Board member Professor Jiliang Mo discusses priorities in the rail industry in China, collaboration between rail and automotive braking experts, and EuroBrake 2021
EuroBrake Advisory Board member Professor Jiliang Mo /莫继良, Ph.D., is a professor of Tribology and Dynamics in the Southwest Jiaotong University. His research interests focus mainly on railway tribology (i.e. friction, lubrication, and wear), vibration and noise reduction, surface treatment and failure analysis, and dynamic finite element analysis.
Prof. Mo has published more than 100 papers and holds more than 20 invention patents. A recipient of the Grand Prize and First Prize of Railway Science and Technology, he has also won, amongst other awards, the first prize of the Natural Science Award of the Ministry of Education, and Excellent Youth Foundation from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
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Here, he discusses the key issues shaping the rail industry in China, his expectations for EuroBrake 2021, and his thoughts on how and why the rail and automotive industries should seek out areas of commonality and knowledge sharing.
What are the top three priorities shaping rail industry strategy and technology in your region?
The main priorities for the rail industry in China are high-power electric traction and transmission systems, high-speed braking technology, and train monitoring and diagnostics.
The high-power electric traction and transmission system is crucial for high-speed rail, so it must be developed for high-power, light weight, low-volume, and high reliability applications, but at low cost – hence the need for advanced traction transmission systems, including traction converters, main transformers, traction motors, and traction drive controls.
High-speed train braking guarantees train safety. High-speed trains carry considerable energy, so high-speed train braking technology must address the problem of rapid kinetic energy transformation and energy consumption, and stop or slow the train in line with wheel and rail friction.
Train monitoring and diagnostics technology plays an important role in high-speed train safety. Any fault in a high-speed train can lead to serious consequences, so advanced equipment is essential for identifying and preventing faults before they can lead to an unwanted incident. There are three aspects to high-speed train monitoring and diagnostics technology: operation monitoring, fault detection and diagnostics, and communication.
What issues will influence rail industry strategy in China over the next five years?
In that timeframe, the main strategies and goals of the rail industry in China will be to develop advanced railway technologies; accelerate national high-speed rail networks, and inter-urban and municipal railways; and strengthen international cooperation. This last point is especially relevant to exports and imports of rail equipment and technology, and the internationalization of China's railway standards and expansion of rail freight between China and Europe.
How and what can automotive and rail industry stakeholders learn from each other?
There is a great deal of commonality between the automotive and the rail industries. Take the brake system as an example; both industries use friction braking. The demands on brake systems in high-speed applications are considerable; high loads, high temperatures, and long duration and high frequency of braking all require suitable materials, structure, and stability. Automobile brake applications may seem relatively less demanding, but vehicle occupants are acutely sensitive to brake system noise, vibration, and harshness, or NVH. Many automotive brake companies have started using coatings on vehicle brake discs to control vibrations, and next-generation vehicles will use advanced braking strategies and controls. On the contrary, trains use more complex brake systems, and usually employ multiple braking techniques.
How can the rail industry collaborate with the automotive industry and other sectors to advance brake technology?
Many automakers have invested heavily in braking control and strategy, and so the automotive industry has made considerable advances in these areas, thanks largely to the development of autonomous vehicle technology that can deal with complex road conditions. Although trains operate in relatively predictable conditions, there are opportunities for the rail industry to collaborate with the automotive industry on braking control and strategy. This could help to increase train safety, and potentially also help to reduce train brake system noise.
Another sector of importance for the future of the rail industry is computer science. Longer and more frequent train journeys mean that ever more train components will need to be monitored, repaired, and replaced, so it’s critical to build a database and invest in remote brake diagnostics systems. Consider the “intelligent train” concept, which can transmit high volumes of data between the vehicle and the infrastructure through its connectivity platform and on-board sensors; if we can monitor the brake system in real-time, and analyse data from the brake system, we can transform brake system operation and maintenance from time-based to condition-based maintenance.
What do you hope to learn at EuroBrake 2021?
My major area of interest is the tribology and dynamics of frictional brake systems. But I am also interested in other brake technologies, including braking control and strategy, brake emissions, and NVH.
Which companies would you like to connect with at EuroBrake 2021?
I would like to meet suppliers of brake materials and brake components. I would also like to talk to companies involved in brake strategy and related technology in the rail industry and in the automotive industry.
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jiliang-mo-b8b0794a