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  • Tata Steel demonstrates steel tube technology for Hyperloop

    24 Oct 2018 | Corporate News

    Tata Steel will present its latest contribution to the European Hyperloop Program (EHP) project at this year’s EuroBLECH trade show.

    The steel supplier has developed different design concepts for the vacuum tube technology and will now enter the prototyping stage, having already delivered electrical steel for the rail of the first European test facility in Delft, Netherlands and made financial investments in the project. At this stage, Tata Steel would like to invite other metal technology companies to join the EHP for the development of the innovative transportation system.

    Hyperloop is a high-capacity, high speed transportation system that has the potential to connect cities at any distance faster and in a highly sustainable manner. The current system uses magnetically levitated pods that travel through a vacuum steel tube at potential speeds up to 1,000 km/h. As 80% of the Hyperloop infrastructure planned by EHP will be made of steel, Tata Steel will focus on the efficient construction of the infrastructure, including strong lightweight tubes and rails made from electrical steel.

    “We were very happy when Hardt Hyperloop, the first European start-up for the technology, approached us in 2017 to be their industry partner in the European Hyperloop Program. Sustainability is one of our most important goals as a company and therefore the innovative mobility concept fits perfectly into our corporate vision. With Hyperloop being such a unique and new system in so many ways, the development process is quite challenging”, said Paul de Vries, General Manager Process Development Strip at Tata Steel.

    For the vacuum tubes, Tata Steel has developed 25 different concepts to reduce the weight and costs by 50 percent compared the tube from the first European test facility. The product is a 30-meter-long and 4.5-meter-wide (internal diameter) spiral welded tube. From these, 25 tube concepts have been selected for a 1:10 scale prototype production and pressure tests in cooperation with the Technical University of Delft.

    A tube-within-a-tube method is one of the two selected designs. In case the final layout of the Hyperloop system will require larger tubes, pre-assembled tubes will be difficult to transport, requiring a tube to be constructed on-site. Therefore, this tube concept consists of single segments that could be assembled at the potential construction site. Another option is a polyhedral tube, that gains its structural stiffness from a triangle-folded steel structure. It is made up of flat triangular sections created by folding the sheet and then wound into a tube with the possibility of on-site continuous welding.

    Before developing the tube concepts, Tata Steel delivered the electrical steel for the rail of a low-speed test facility, the first European Hyperloop test facility build by Hardt Hyperloop in 2017. This rail consists of two steel beams with copper wires to conduct the current for the levitation and propulsion of the pod. The test track is a 30-meter-long tube located in Delft, Netherlands, where Hardt tests its levitation, propulsion and unique switching system within a vacuum at low speeds. The next step is the high-speed test facility, for which Tata Steel is developing optimized track production methods and will test its tube concepts.

    Hardt Hyperloop, Tata Steel, Royal IHC and Royal BAM initiated the European Hyperloop Program, a collaboration of public and private sector technology companies and research institutes developing Hyperloop standards. Having reached this stage in the development, Tata Steel is now inviting other companies to bring in their expertise and capabilities, too, so that the development of this ground-breaking transportation system can be accelerated.

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    For further information:

    Sue-Lane Wood, Tata Steel Europe, Tel: +31 628888965, sue-lane.wood@tatasteeleurope.com

    Ingo Trenkner, pr people, Tel. +49 201 82 14 34 12, i.trenkner@pr-people.de

    About Tata Steel’s European operations

    Tata Steel is one of Europe's leading steel producers, with steelmaking in the Netherlands and the UK, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products which give them a competitive edge. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the top global steel companies, with an annual crude steel capacity of 27.5 million tonnes and more than 65,000 employees across five continents. The group’s turnover in the year ending March 2018 was US $20.4 billion.