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Airtificial sends the Hyperloop capsule to Toulouse

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23/Jan/2019 | Noticia

  • Airtificial makes a transfer of “surgical” engineering to take the capsule to the research and development center of HyperloopTT in Toulouse to carry out the definitive tests of the ultra-fast train.
  • Two precision cranes and more than 50 operators have worked on the preparation and loading of this structure of 32 meters in length; almost 3 meters tall and 5,500 kilos in weight, in a truck specially coated and conditioned for this trip.
  • The capsule is an intelligent structure equipped with 72 sensors, which work through optical fiber that offer high precision, in the monitoring of voltages and micro deformations without the need of complex cable systems and all this aided by software.

Madrid, January 22, 2019. The future is reached by road. Airtificial sends the capsule of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) to the research and development center that the American company has in Toulouse for the final tests of the ultra-fast train prototype in a surgical engineering transfer operation. Airtificial employs, at its plant in El Puerto de Santa María, two high-precision cranes to load the 32 meters in length, almost three meters high and 5,500 kilos of weight of the intelligent structure in special transport and conditioned for a trip of three days to the aforementioned French city. The capsule is equipped with 72 sensors, connected to each other by optical fiber, which transmit information in real time to a central computer about the behavior of the structure. Likewise, for the transfer, accelerometers and vibration sensors have been incorporated to guarantee the good handling of the capsule throughout its transfer.

This trip to the sustainable mobility of the future starts in El Puerto de Santa María, in the R+D plant of Airtificial. The Company used more than 30,000 hours of work to make tangible an idea: the development, manufacture and assembly of a capsule capable of traveling at more than 1,200 kilometers per hour in a vacuum tube using the magnetic levitation technique and driven magnetic inductors. Now, it has worked for a month in preparing and executing a very complex transfer from the logistic point of view. Airtificial provided its El Puerto plant with two high-precision cranes for the transfer of complex structures and more than fifty operators to prepare the entire process and fit the Hyperloop capsule in a special transport truck and conditioned for this complicated transfer. The two major difficulties of this shipment lie in the size and weight of the capsule and the transport itself and the handling of the capsule made of carbon fiber with integration of intelligent sensors.

There, in the research and development center of HyperloopTT, the final capsule tests will be made before launching the pilot project that the American company makes in Dubai.

“Intelligent” capsule

For the manufacture of the capsule, Airtificial has used aerospace technology and applied engineering for industrial processes with state-of-the-art composite materials. The capsule is made of 85 percent carbon fiber, has double structure to ensure tightness, and 15 percent aluminum. It is an intelligent structure, equipped with 72 sensors strategically distributed inside to know the mechanical and dynamic behavior of it.

The sensors work through fiber optic technology. They are formed by a main fiberglass core, through which the light beam runs, it is covered with a fiber coating of 125 μm diameter, and finally by a coating of a special ceramic, which gives a high adhesion to the own fiberglass of the sensor, to generate a good tension transfer between the fiber and the adhesive and to have a temperature operating range superior to the standard fiber optic coatings to support applications between -180 and + 200 ° C, and as well as an easy handling of the fiber that allows to eliminate the ceramic coating if necessary without the use of chemical acids. These sensors have a series of characteristics that make them an appropriate material for composites; they can reach very high deformation levels, they are able to measure temperature from -268C to + 200C. In addition, they have a high sensitivity, being able to measure any type of disturbance that occurs over time. The sensors are forming what are called sensor chains and it is possible to monitor multiple sensors in series using only one connector line, achieving a sampling frequency practically in real time.

Having a capsule with sensors, allows monitoring in real time its behavior and response to mechanical and dynamic stresses, so that it is possible to know if these voltages are within normal operating parameters or if, on the contrary, some anomaly is occurring that requires a review. The structural health monitoring of the capsule allows immediate maintenance.


More than 30,000 hours to materialize a futuristic idea

Airtificial has been working for two years to make this project a reality, a process that has been divided into two phases; the first, design and manufacture of parts, developed at the Airport (Jerez) plant, which has invested more than 21,000 hours of specialized engineering and more than 4,200 hours of rolling, and the second phase, in the plant of Tecnobahía (Cádiz), which has required more than 5,000 hours of final processes and assembly.

Airtificial and HyperloopTT carried out, last October 2, the world-wide presentation of the first capsule for life-size passengers of the train at the Tecnobahía factory, El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz. Airtificial was chosen for its experience and know-how in engineering, design and manufacture of complex aerospace structures in composites, such as the dorsal fin and Karman hull of the A380, as well as its knowledge in the design and development of engineering and manufacturing of oil pipelines.

Contact: Almudena Estéban

915 76 52 50

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