Silicones: working collaboratively with railway manufacturers

For the last half century, the railway industry has revolutionized travel, becoming an essential mix in global transport solutions: fast-speed intercity trains, efficient regional links, urban trams, etc. Train and rolling stock manufacturers have been among the most innovative players in the transport industry, constantly seeking to improve their offer so that it meets travelers’ expectations for safe and efficient transport. Trains have also contributed to reducing the carbon imprint since they are increasingly electrically powered and have reduced urban automobile traffic by offering viable alternatives for regional and urban transportation.

Elkem Silicones has worked closely with the railway industry since the 1980s when it was involved in the design, development and manufacturing of a new generation of fast-speed TGV trains in France, as well as the overhaul of existing rolling stock to meet new requirements and specifications. Since then, it has continued to offer a wide range of products and services for railway equipment manufacturers, from adhesive and thermally conductive silicones for potting and encapsulation to foams, used in a great variety of applications: fire retardants, thermal and noise insulators and enclosures for electrical equipment, etc. Our relationship as fellow travelers to the railway industry continues today with an even greater offer upstream in assembly and downstream in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

Why is Elkem Silicones unique in supplying an unparalleled number of products and services to railway manufacturers and train operators?

With its longstanding relationship and intimate knowledge of the needs of railway manufacturers, Elkem Silicones has constantly developed innovative products to meet their needs: 

  • ESA grade (RTV-2) gels, adhesives and thermally conductive products for potting and encapsulation to protect electronic components in junction boxes, power electronics, IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors), sensors, CPUs, PCBs, etc. These product lines provide stable temperature control and thermal resistance for engines, batteries and electronic control units.
  • CAF (RTV-1) self-adhesion products to bond metals, ceramics, glass and plastics that resist harsh environmental, thermal and chemical conditions with outstanding adhesion and mechanical performance features.
  • RT Foam Grade products, used on railroad engine gaskets as sealants, fire retardants and for thermal and noise insulation, as well as on electrical equipment enclosures as dust-free insulants and fire retardants. RT foams provide the performance benefits of standard silicones, but are lighter and more flexible for critical fire resistance applications.
  • New product developments in cushioning and seating foams to replace polyurethane, which are less dense, more malleable and safer, better fire-retardant properties with non-toxic emissions and generating less smoke when flames do break out.

Why choose Elkem Silicones as your partner for silicone-based solutions for railway manufacturing?

To begin with, Elkem Silicone expert teams serving transportation industries – railways, as well as automotive and aeronautics – for over 50 years. This experience in constant innovation and improvement is being leveraged more than ever. For example, Elkem Silicones is working today upstream to research, develop and design the trains of the future that will be faster, better, safer, more comfortable, cost-efficient and environmentally friendlier. Second, Elkem Silicones is present at the assembly stage to streamline manufacturing processes and follows through to the maintenance, repair and overhaul of existing rolling stock to increase the life cycle of trains. Third,

Elkem Silicones has developed a culture in line with the demanding requirements of railway manufacturing supply chain systems. 

This includes risk management based on double-sourcing plans, so customers always receive the products they need on time. Other services also include regulatory support, assistance to roll out productivity programs, training for teams and collaborative work on new developments. Their ultimate goal: to provide the entire railway industry with the best tailor-made products and services to sustain their efforts to satisfy their customers and end users.