AECOM is developing one of the UK’s first 3D printed commercial products designed to transform the digitisation of transport networks. The 3D printed arch, CNCTArch, is made from graphene-reinforced polymer and was designed to reduce the time and cost of installing digital signalling systems to ultimately deliver a better service for rail passengers.
The concept was developed in response to Transport for London’s need to address difficulties with the 4-Lines Modernization Program (4LM) around the cost and time of digitising the signalling systems on their networks.
Currently being tested on an outdoor track at Network Rail’s workforce development centre in Bristol, the graphene arch supports Data Communication Systems (DCS) units required for railway communication systems. The 4.5 metre high, lightweight arch sits over rail tracks and eliminates the need to attach new digital equipment to existing infrastructure. The CNCTArch can be used in both tunnels and open environments and has the potential to transform the deployment of digital traffic management systems.
AECOM looked at replacing the traditional bolt and screws method of deploying digital systems in tunnels, which currently takes four shifts to install. The patent-pending arch, on which the digital technology is attached, is designed to reduce the installation time to only one shift.