SEKISUI KYDEX: Design for a New Rail Passenger Experience

SEKISUI KYDEX: Design for a New Rail Passenger Experience
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SEKISUI KYDEX, LLC

Design for a New Rail Passenger Experience

This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine, Issue 4 2022 Rolling Stock edition.

Rolling stock interiors are experiencing a design renaissance that includes being sustainable, safe, and smart.

Designers are exploring fresh ideas and concepts, but one thing is constant – meeting passenger expectations. Travellers are returning to the rails and ready to enjoy the journey. Every trip is full of purpose, from new business ventures to ski vacations, to one day excursions. Rail interiors will need to encompass circular design and the feel of a comfortable and clean cabin to meet these new lifestyle trends. The challenge to designing these new train cars is understanding new materials and how they work together early in the development process.

A recent survey conducted at the RedCabin Railway Interiors Summit in April found that nearly 65 percent of rail professionals believe a lack of cross-industry collaboration is preventing new interior innovation from transforming the onboard passenger experience. However, opportunities abound to transform rail travel in the future.

Early Collaboration with the Supply Chain

Bringing the supply chain together for early collaboration can expedite the material selection process. SEKISUI KYDEX developed its Innovation Centres, appLab™ and designLab®, as places for design and engineering teams to collaborate and explore the possibilities.

appLab™: Changing Materials through Collaboration

This new focus on rail interiors has designers considering new and innovative materials. Education about the available material options and their benefits can help shift rail interiors from heavier, less sustainable metal and fibre-glass-reinforced plastics (FRP) to thermoplastics—a lighter, safer, more sustainable option.

Ruben Bake, Mass Transit Business Manager, says:

“The appLab™ can change the game by educating designers, transit system professionals, and rail engineers. Collaboration among these professionals in a space specifically made for exploration leads to faster development of state-of-the-art solutions. Engineers and specifiers can experience true design freedom in moving from fibreglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) to thermoplastics.”

Outfitted with a full-size pressure former, a standard batch oven with custom conveying units, CNC mills, and a Faro laser line probe for part precision, the appLab™ can assist with switching from traditional materials to thermoplastics. The appLab™ engineers can recommend forming processes and provide modifications to part geometries to adjust undercuts, split lines, and hidden edges.

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