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ABB introduces energy saving rail traction motor optimisation method

New motor design optimisation can help increase efficiency by up to five percent

ABB is launching a new traction motor method that is optimised to a train's actual application and operating conditions to provide an increase in motor efficiency by up to five percent compared to the industry average.

The optimisation takes into account operating conditions such as whether an electric diesel locomotive will have smooth or hilly terrain or operate in hot or cold climates. Sophisticated software then tests thousands of potential motor designs based on the actual application - for example the precise amount of acceleration needed for a light urban commuter train with frequent stops. The optimisation method then converts these into electromagnetic parameters such as load, torque and speed.

This new optimisation method will enable train operators to reduce energy use and provides a shorter payback time for their equipment. Achieving energy savings of up to five percent is a significant benefit, as reducing energy consumption by even one percent can potentially save the cost equivalent of five times a motor's purchase price over its lifetime.

This software and application were developed in-house by ABB. It takes the tremendous computing power of some 3,000 CPUs (central processing units) running across a distributed network to make the complex motor design optimisation calculations.

ABB has a range of power and automation products and solutions for the rail industry and a vast global installed base. Increasing concern for the environment, rapid urbanisation, the need to move more people and freight faster and volatile fuel prices make rail a strategic focus sector for the company.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 150,000 people.


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