The era of magnetic levitation trains seemed to be a thing of the past after the German Transrapid stopped its test runs, and its successor, the Shanghai maglev, remained an isolated project. Although, there are a number of prototypes developed in China which so far have never exceeded the test phase, a new project is attracting attention: the Transport System Boegl Cargo (TSB). As part of the ITS World Congress, a test track has been set up in the port of Hamburg in order to demonstrate the system’s abilities to interested parties.
The yellow 40-foot container moves back and forth almost silently on the test track, guided, as if by magic, on an unmanned conveying system. A second, identical-looking, steel box follows, which is moved onto a neighboring track following a change in the track's position. This is how it will continue all day long until mid-November, says Design Engineer, Dominik Sippl from Boegl. The reason for doing this: With the presentation, the manufacturer intends to attract attention and prove that its TSB system has reached a high maturity level, making it a candidate for practical implementation. It operates fully automated, and is designed to transport up to 180 containers per hour at a maximum speed of 150 km/h. The frequency of movements may amount to as little as 20 seconds, depending on demand and requirements. It enables short circle times and efficient handling of goods. It proves its strength especially when it comes to transporting and distributing containers as efficiently as possible between ports and distribution centers in neighboring regions, thereby helping to relieve traffic congestion, speed up flows, and reduce delivery times.
Containers are placed on a transportation pod powered by magnetic levitation, which glides from A to B on a guideway. These can be installed on ground-level, in tunnels, or elevated on columns built above highways or parallel to rail tracks, depending on local conditions. The guideway structure consists of elements that fit into 40-foot containers and can be railed or shipped wherever needed. They are prefabricated, which reduces costs and speeds up processes. Compared to Transrapid or the Shanghai maglev, constructing TSB guideways costs 70% less, experts maintain. Actually, the construction of the roadways is the core competence of Max Boegl, and the company’s TSG solution is only a by-product.
… coupled with environmental enhancements
Compared to Diesel powered trucks, TSB Cargo’s energy consumption is 60% lower, the manufacturer holds. Therefore, the company speaks of a low-emission and sustainable transport solution that fits well into an existing infrastructure. Boegl refers to forecasts predicting a steady increase of shipments, making the seamless inflow and outflow of goods moving between ports and the hinterlands an increasing challenge should the existing transport options not be relieved by new systems.
At present, the company is looking for a core customer for freight transports over longer distances. While it has a 3.5 km demonstration line in operation with a local partner in Chengdu, China, this was not built for freight, but for the internal transport of employees within the area utilized by the company. Therefore, Boegl needs a flagship project to showcase its magnetic levitation-based TSB Cargo solution to the world.
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