A new generation of level crossing mechanisms, resistant to sub-zero temperatures and strong winds, was developed by Efacec and INEGI for Trafikverket, the managing entity of the railway and road infrastructure in Sweden. This disruptive solution and winner of a Red Dot Design Award, in the Product Design 2021 category, represents an innovative approach in the field of critical railway safety systems, through a level crossing barrier mechanism that is simultaneously functional, safe and aesthetically appealing.
After winning one of the most important contracts in the level crossing segment in Europe, Efacec has developed, certified and already started to supply new generation automatic level crossing systems for Trafikverket. The new barrier mechanism for level crossings – XBarrier 100 – was developed within the scope of an R&D partnership with INEGI – Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
“This contract presented us with important technological challenges as it involved designing a new level crossing solution adapted to the particular requirements of Swedish railway operation. From the early stages, we knew that INEGI would be the ideal partner. And so it happened: we worked in a true spirit of collaboration between industry and the national scientific and technological system”, says Pedro Pinto, director of the Transport business area at Efacec.
And it was in response to these specific requirements that Efacec, in partnership with INEGI, created the XBarrier 100, a new product, capable of withstanding adverse weather conditions and incorporating an innovative counterweight concept, necessary for the controlled movement of the rod of the barrier. In this solution, the counterweight is not found outside the fairing, as in the most common systems, but incorporated into the body of the product, making it imperceptible to passersby. The counterweight system is also adapted to a seven meter long rod, fully modular and adjustable at the time and place of installation.
“There are issues, from a development point of view, that do not arise in Portugal, but which in a Nordic country are decisive. For example, the barrier rod must be resistant to adverse conditions and its movement must be ensured. This mechanical project already foresees that the entire system works in a temperature ranging from -40°C to positive 70°C, considering the possibility of ice formation, the presence of snow and the possibility of the wind speeds reaching 126 km/h”, explains Emanuel Lourenço, responsible for the project at INEGI.
Although the Xbarrier100 is designed to meet the specific needs of Sweden, the new system enables Efacec to enter new markets, namely in other Scandinavian countries, such as Norway, Finland and Denmark, where Efacec already has an important presence.
With a comprehensive presence in the Energy, Mobility and Environment value chain, Efacec acts as a supplier of solutions and integrated EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) systems and a partner in O&M (Operations & Maintenance) services. Efacec is present in strategic markets such as Europe, the United States of America, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa.
INEGI – Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is a Research and Technology Organisation (RTO), founded in 1986, focused on research and technology-based innovation activities, technology transfer, consulting and technological services, oriented to the development of industry and economy in general. A non-profit, private and recognised as a public utility entity.