In Phase I of the DAC project, the aim was to describe the behavior of the different couplings as accurately as possible, and to evaluate it. First, the teams headed by project manager Dr. Christian Wilmes put together four groups of railroad cars, each with three cars of different designs. The couplings under test were installed between the cars. Steel wire containers or switch boxes of measurement technology attachments were installed in the cars.
At the test facility of TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH in Görlitz, the team then conducted hundreds of tests under varying conditions in terms of velocity, payload, and rail geometry, in order to document the mechanical and electrical behavior of the coupling prototypes and the stability of data communication. Tests were also performed in DB Systemtechnik’s climatic chamber, to simulate different – and also extreme – weather conditions. Further details on the Phase I test can be seen in the test concept in Phase I – DAC4.
In order to accurately record the mechanical behavior of each coupling prototype, the team at DB Systemtechnik had defined a large number of measurement tasks, including coupling tests, test runs, and lateral force tests to determine safety against derailment. An overview of the measurement tasks can be seen in Fig. 1. For the measurements, the sensors were attached directly to the couplings and brake system and connected to the amplifiers via cables. The engineers used WLAN antennas for data exchange between the railcars. Batteries ensured a self-sufficient power supply, to enable measurements independent of location.