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smart plastics in train washing plant | igus


The train washing plant of the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (CFL) cleans local and long-distance trains daily in its 200 m washing hall. In order to ideally clean different train lengths, 4 washing trolleys (a total of 8 washing trolleys) each are installed on either longitudinal side of the hall. Each washing trolley is supplied with power, data, compressed air as well as water and cleaning agent over a travel distance of 66 m by a gliding igus® energy chain.

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Washing system
smart plastics dashboard
Push/pull force in the online dashboard
i.Cee dashboard
e-chain speed via the dashboard

The challenge

The previous energy chain systems of a competitor caused disruptions in the operation of the plant, as they were partially rising or otherwise falling off. This was particularly problematic because the washing plant is operated autonomously and a failure of an energy chain system could bring the entire washing process to a halt. The necessary repair measures were therefore time-consuming and partly necessary at night and on weekends. If the energy chain failed, the possibility of a rail vehicle being locked up in the wash bay could not be ruled out, which could mean the failure of several train runs.


The aim was to find a product that not only safely supplies the washing trolleys with data, voltage, compressed air, water and cleaning agents, but also fulfils CFL's requirement to operate Europe's most modern train washing plant. For this purpose, a system was required that allows the operator to monitor each individual energy chain and to avoid a breakdown of the plant. Besides an igus® energy chain designed for long travels, igus® smart plastics components were installed. Sensors monitor the status of every igus® energy chain during operation with regard to the application of force but also with regard to wear and tear and inform in good time as soon as a repair or replacement is required. In the course of the modernisation of the energy chain systems, the entire cleaning system was also renewed, so that in addition to particularly environmentally friendly cleaning agents, the used washing water can also be reused again and again through reprocessing.


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