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The Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is closing after six years of industry-leading research and the delivery of 65 projects.
The Centre was established in July 2014, and subsequently funded the delivery of 65 projects, supported the studies of 51 Australian-based PhD students, and worked with 35 rail organisations and universities.
In terms of project successes, these include:
Dr Stuart Thomson, CEO of the Rail Manufacturing CRC, said, “To achieve this, new models of cooperation between industry and researchers, individual state Governments and the Commonwealth Government will need to be explored. A national strategy for rail and rail innovation would be a great impetus for ensuring a future innovative rail sector.
“There is a need to strengthen the domestic rail supply chain. By providing incentives for SMEs to invest in research and development, and encouraging global suppliers currently not investing in local innovation or local supply chains to invest in the long term future of the local rail sector, this will create future advanced manufacturing businesses and employment opportunities.”
Following the Centre’s closure, the Rail Manufacturing CRC has launched a legacy website at http://www.rmcrc.com.au, containing project achievements, publications and outcomes all in the one location, with a number of video profiles included on key projects and a full suite of PhD student profiles.
“The Rail Manufacturing CRC legacy website will remain online to recognise the efforts of our participants and students in the delivery of industry-leading rail research. It is hoped that the online materials will be a vital resource used when future rail research is being proposed and conducted,” Dr Thomson said.
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is also calling for new rail research funding to fill the void the CRC will leave in the industry.
ARA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said the CRC had delivered new technologies to support improved efficiency and safety across the rail network.
“The Rail Manufacturing CRC has worked alongside rail manufacturers and operators to deliver new technology and innovation that will make a real difference to the industry,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The CRC’s collaborative focus has delivered some great results and the team can be very proud of its record of achievement.
“New funding is now essential to keep the focus on technology and innovation in rail.”
The ARA has commissioned a technology research paper to identify future priorities for research and development in the industry.
Ms Wilkie said it was essential that the government, business and industry worked in partnership to continue to build the productivity and competitiveness of the rail network.
“Technology will play an increasing role in the rail industry and continued investment is essential to make sure Australia remains at the forefront of innovation,” Ms Wilkie said.
“It is more important than ever that this work continues as the industry prepares for new growth.”
The Rail Manufacturing CRC developed six new technologies that are likely to yield commercial returns.
This has included a new passenger information system being used at Sydney’s Wynyard Station and the development of prototypes for supercapacitor control systems and composite brake discs.
Other projects are delivering improved real time monitoring of trains in service as well as condition monitoring to reduce wear and tear and extend maintenance cycles.
To view the ARA’s technology research brief, click here.
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