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6 April 2017


SkyWay innovations — it is no easy matter

The conversation continues on-site the demonstration and certification center for SkyWay transport EcoTechnoPark. In an interview with the Head of news service, Anatoly Yunitskiy spoke about a number of important aspects related to the construction of test track sections. The talk includes the challenges that designers and builders have to face every day, as well as the solutions that allow to overcome them successfully. They also emphasized the features of SkyWay transport systems, compared their elements with existing world analogues and discussed the prospects for their development and improvement... Innovations are not easy, but possible to implement. If the goal is really great, any obstacles count for nothing.

Translation of the video:

Michael Kirichenko: Hallo everybody! Here is Michael Kirichenko with you. You are watching SkyWay news, where we tell you about the developments and implementation of breakthrough transport technologies. Last week we told you about the installation of the last trusses on the main section of 1-km urban passenger route. Today you will learn more about the challenges we had to pass through to be at the current stage of the project. Some details about the track structure and rolling stock, about the date of commissioning SkyWay EcoTechnoPark and whether it was possible to do something faster and much more will become clear to you. The best guide around EcoTechnoPark is, certainly, the General Designer of SkyWay Technologies Co. Anatoly Yunitskiy. Some of the things that you'll hear will be new to you, so please hold your breath. We start our report with the answer to a most frequently asked question. What is the booster section of the speedy line by itself?

Anatoly Yunitskiy: This is a continuous pre-stressed truss-string structure that is also statically undetermined, because its tensioned condition is additionally affected by the air temperature. At one temperature it will have one tensioned condition, at another one it will be different. In contrast to beam bridges with temperature joints. Their operation does not depend on temperature. Therefore, when this line is completely assembled, there will be no deformations here. Its length will be unchanged since the distance between anchor supports does not change. They stay stiffly and stably. By the way, when we were stretching steel ropes here, we had the total tensioning of rail tubes (bodies) up to 60 tons at this temperature and up to 90 tons for strings. It was about 150 tons altogether. We measured the shift at anchor supports. At one support the shift was 3 mm, at another - 5 mm.

M.K.: Is it acceptable by the norm limit?

A.Y.: The norms allow shifting up to 10 cm while assembling. Therefore, it is even better than we expected. We have calculated everything correctly. Thus, the distance between anchor supports does not change, the length does not change, no shift will occur. But now the track is not fixed at the ends. Therefore, its ends can easily shift. If we have built the track without any special measures, its ends would shift by 25-30 cm. Like this. And all supports would quickly collapse. They would just fall down. That's why we have made a technological temperature joint in the middle of the track to allow easy shifting at the ends and in the middle. During the construction period we have various technological conditions, temperature decreases at night and rises at daytime. It may be a temperature drop by 20 degrees. We made it to avoid large shifts and damages to supports. Therefore, we have a temperature joint over there and the ends are free now. When we install the end spans, another problem will appear there. The ends will start to shift during the assembly that will last several days. We will have to assemble spans, to pull steel ropes through them, to fix anchors. Moreover, the anchors are not simple here, because the tension force is considerably higher - about 1,000 tons calculated for - 40°C. In addition, the left and right rails and the trusses are current-carrying, because a high-speed unibus will be collecting current from the wheels. Therefore, trusses are insulated from each other. And the supports are standing on insulators. The anchor supports should be also insulated from the carrying structure. Imagine, the force of 1,000 tons should come to them via insulators that will have to withstand the load and operate normally. We shall also design and produce it all. The final installation of trusses including ordering, producing and filling concrete, will take more than a month. Total collapse of technological structures may occur during this period. Therefore, the end spans will be done in a definite way to avoid damaging of trusses, anchor supports and anchor clamping at temperature drops. That's why some things are done slower than some not well-informed people expect, because they do not understand what it is and what is happening here. They have no idea about the structure and its operation. We are planning to suspend unibuses here in late April. This is our schedule.

M.K.: And when the high-speed pod will start to ride? At least on this booster section? Not at full speed, but just possible to see it. Many people ask about it.

A.Y.: The high-speed unibus has been designed in general. Some last parts are left to design. Actually, we have started manufacturing it. We shall produce it by the end of the year. It is a very hi-tech vehicle. As I read in the Internet, they say a unibus or a unibike are nothing to do. Just add a motor from a coffee-grinder to it and it will ride. It is made of cardboard, anyone can do it. Some people do not understand that it is such a hi-tech that our high-speed unibus is not simpler than an airplane. Not some flying air stack by the Wright brothers, but a modern Boeing. In some things, the unibus is even more sophisticated, because its operation is completely automated. A pilot is taking off and landing an airplane. We operate fully in the automated duty. The mechanical part is very complex, too. Its wheel makes 5,000-6,000 rpm. Current-collecting at a very high speed. Extremely complex processes take place there. It is not so easy to do it as it may seem. Nevertheless, we are doing it very fast. Yes, by the level of complexity a unibus is an airplane. Actually, we started to design it when we came to Belarus less than 2 years ago. Now this vehicle is at the output. You know, 3 countries decided to make a new airplane, created the Airbus Company and started to design the airplane. A well-known A380, the world's largest passenger airplane. They have been designing it for 12 years having spent for it 12 billion Euro. Then they have been producing a pilot lot for 3 years and testing it for several years more. We are doing the same things. We do not have billions of dollars or Euros. We do not have dozens of years. Nevertheless, we are doing it and everything is working. The unibike started to run with designed features. Yes, it has some shortcomings; we know them and remove them. The noise in it is more than we expected, because it rides on a hollow tube without concrete filling. We have increased sound insulation and reduced noise by 10 decibel. We are measuring it, too. The tubes are rather long there, we had to deliver them from the factory and assemble on-site. They are welded end-to-end. The welding seams must be equally strong. It's not a simple matter, because the tubes have different sizes and wall thickness. Some walls are barrel-shaped, the others have concave walls. They had to be flush welded together with a sufficiently strong seam. We have drawings and documentation for it. However, the welders overdid it while smoothing the seams. They used an angle grinder, as we do not have any other tooling for it yet. We are going to produce it. As a result, they made dimples on the seams and the wheel pounds there, because there is no temperature joint there, but there is a dimple. It affects the sound. Naturally, we shall remove it. We know it is unacceptable and it will be controlled more strictly. In addition, we shall have our own special tooling to clean up the welded seams and avoid such problems. Therefore, it will not happen on this line.

M.K.: Anatoly, I am tempted to ask one more question. Since there are so many nuances and it is all very complex, the technology is real and innovative, how possible would it be to apply it commercially for building 1 km per day as we have claimed?

A.Y.: Well, you know, Boeings are also produced now in hundreds, though the initial production was slow. It is natural. One kilometer per day is a real figure. The technology and structure will be different there. Now we are checking the principles and concepts here. These are test sections to elaborate the logics for 200 years - researching, testing and perfecting.

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