Dimitrie Otlacan, Founder & Chief Engineer – INNOVA Systems and Technologies

Railway Buffers: measures to increase speed and safety through the use of intelliBuffer devices

On the occasion of its anniversary 150th reunion, the experts committee B12 of ORE ­ UIC has performed an analysis of the stage of development of railways technologies, trends, and directions of development for the immediate future.

Train speeds

The issued reports indicate that a major obstacle in increasing trains speeds is represented by the level of transversal forces occurring in curves, caused by the tightening between buffers and the coupling apparatus. It is to be noted that the level of transversal forces would also affect the safety in operation, as well as the wear­and­tear of the rail itself and of the wheel bandage.

In this context, Prof. Eng. N.H.C.E. Zeevenhooven ­ president of the ORE experts committee B36 ­ promoted the necessity to develop so­called “intelligent” buffers for wagons, with two sets of characteristics enabled by the specific traffic situation the wagon is in: ­ one characteristic F=f(d) that would ensure wagon and freight safety during shunting and train formation; ­ another characteristic F=f(d), with a low level of force, that would ensure diminished levels of transversal forces when the train is in traffic and may run through curves. Reports issued on this occasion are published in document DT 230 (B12/B36) by ORE ­ UIC. Innova Systems & Technologies has developed a system of intelligent buffers.


Their main characteristic is that, when the train passes through curves, the axial force occurring within the buffers is reduced to 50% of the axial force recorded by buffers with the same longitudinal deformation when the train is aligned straight. Moreover, the buffers are also able to protect against accidental collisions, up until an energy absorption level of 1000kJ / wagon end.

This study aims to present experimental results obtained through the first application of the intelliBuffer concept, developed by Innova Systems & Technologies for passenger coach wagons manufactured by Astra Vagoane Calatori. These buffers are fully compliant with both Regulation 1302/2014/CE and EN1551+A1 and our study covers the following aspects: ­ increasing duration between two re­profiling of the wheels; ­

  • decreasing the max. force required to pull the train; ­
  • decreasing transversal forces at wheel­rail level and increasing safety against
  • derailment; ­ decreasing wear­and­tear of the rails in curves; ­
  • decreasing wear­and­tear of the buffer plates; ­
  • decreasing wear­and­tear of several bogie components

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