HÜBNER Is Working on Trackless Trams

HÜBNER at Busworld Europe in Brussels

One consequence of increasing urbanization and the worldwide growth of megacities is an ongoing increase in mobility requirements.

More and more people need to be transported – which poses a huge challenge for cities and their surrounding regions.

“Only through a strengthening of public transport offerings and the development of innovative approaches in the transport sector will it be possible for us to make progress with overcrowded streets and the associated environmental impacts.”

At the world’s largest exhibition for bus transport being held from 18 – 23 October 2019 in the Belgian capital city, HÜBNER is presenting its vision for how ever increasing transport needs can be handled in the world’s metropolitan centers. The company, global market leader for gangway systems for buses and trains, sees a growing role for high-capacity buses – that means vehicles of more than 30 meters in length. These can be better imagined as trackless trams or trams running on rubber tires.

Förster explains:

“When a rail infrastructure is not present, then trams and light rail systems are at once very expensive and at the same time slow to realize. It is necessary to have a planning horizon of ten to 15 years for the implementation of such systems. For that reason at HÜBNER we have been thinking in recent years about how buses can be designed so that they have transport capacities comparable with those of trams.”

With a bus system, on the other hand, it is often possible to achieve implementation in three to five years, which for a municipality can be a very important factor.

Uwe Bittroff, head of the gangway systems division for street-based vehicles at HÜBNER, says:

“Up until now, the biggest step in this direction has been bi-articulated buses operating in so-called bus rapid transit systems. These have been used mainly outside of Germany in sizes up to 27 meters in length. However, recently it can be seen that transport operators are reaching their capacity limits even with the use of bi-articulated buses. A solution for the necessary capacity increases must be found relatively quickly to better handle present and future requirements.”

Electronic Steering for Buses More Than 30 Meters Long

In Brussels, HÜBNER will be presenting a newly developed electronic steering system for buses of more than 30 meters in length, which should be implemented by bus manufacturers in practice starting next year. Working with a long-term development partner, the Fraunhofer Institute IVI Dresden, HÜBNER has realized a test station for such systems. With this test station, it is possible not only to simulate driving with such vehicles but also to check the function of steering and axles.

The hurdle is rather to develop a system that stays manageable even when it malfunctions, which inevitably will happen sometimes.

Bittroff explains:

“The big challenge with these developments is not to make it possible for such a long bus with several articulations to negotiate curves. The necessary algorithms for this have already been developed. If one of six or more axles develops problems, it is imperative that this does not put anyone at risk. We will only bring our product onto the market when it has reached a sufficient safety level.”

For its concept, HÜBNER is making use of as many standard components as possible. Customers should be able to build a long bus with a manageable degree of adaptation. At the present time, high-capacity buses represent a market with relatively modest piece numbers, but HÜBNER is already convinced of the ultimate success of the concept. In connection with the development work that has already begun, it could be possible to have a corresponding vehicle ready for the market in approximately three years.

HÜBNER At the Busworld Europe Exhibition in Brussels

Busworld is the world’s largest and longest-running exhibition for urban buses and touring coaches. Every two years, new developments in the areas of bus manufacturing and accessories as well as public transport and bus travel are presented. HÜBNER will be present at the exhibition in Hall 3 at Booth 317 as well as in Hall 5 at Booth 527, together with its subsidiary companies HTG, Hemscheidt-Fahrwerktechnik, GWU and Plastocell.

HUBNER Busworld 2019
HÜBNER presents itself at the Busworld in Brussels: The world’s largest trade fair for bus transport takes place from 18 to 23 October 2019 in the Belgian capital.

In addition to the electronic steering system, door safety systems such as the GWU Switch and LEXI will also be presented. These systems prevent passengers from getting caught in the entry doors of vehicles. The FEDRA LED system is another enhancement in the area of door safety systems. This system features colored light strips on the finger protection profiles of vehicle doors that signal to passengers prior to entry whether a door will be opening or closing.

HÜBNER also has ramps and lifts in its product range. The electronically operated Flip Ramp is a folding ramp that is simple to operate and conforms with ADA Accessibility Guidelines. In case of emergency operation, the ramp can be deployed with less than 9 kg manual force. The EXEO Light lift system for touring coaches is a manual system that at the same time is easy and simple to operate without an electric drive. Retrofitting of the EXEO Light as well as maintenance can be done without great effort or expense.

In the area of chassis technology, new developments such as a semi-trailing independent suspension and a new double wishbone axle with hydropneumatic suspension will be shown. Both of these producrts have been specially developed to meet the energy requirements of electromobility.

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