Automatic center buffer coupler
The 12 innovative freight wagons and 8 reference vehicles have been fitted with two different types of automatic center buffer couplers, as have three other freight wagons of the demonstrator train.
Automatic couplers from Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA (Scharfenberg coupler) and Faiveley Transport Schwab AG (Schwab coupler) were used for this purpose. These were adapted from their use in passenger transport to suit the requirements of goods transport. As well as the mechanical connection, both coupler types can also automatically couple the air line. The automatic couplers will be installed in three additional reference vehicles, but not in the IFWs. This is because use of automatic center buffer couplers changes the length dynamic of the train, so that the balance of power in the IFWs would be represented differently than if they were fitted with screw couplers. This would prevent a comparison between conventional and innovative components, such as innovative bogies, with regard to wear behavior.
The automatic Voith CargoFlex Type Scharfenberg has been specially optimized for use in freight transport. The design is based on tried-and-tested components that have already proven reliable for passenger transport in the standard gauge railway sector for many years. The design of the coupler is modular and can be fitted, or retrofitted, with other components for possible optional requirements, such as sensor technology for monitoring the state of the coupler, an electric contact coupler or an automatic decoupling function.
The front coupler type “freight wagon coupler” enables automatic coupling under tough climatic and geometric conditions. For this purpose, a mechanical and a pneumatic connection are reliably established at the coupling head. Decoupling is executed manually via the release cable provided at the end of the wagon. It is also possible to manually decouple the front couplers using a guard key.