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Harm graduated in 2013 at the University of Twente in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Tribology and Surface Technology. Subsequently he followed a PDEng traineeship at the Railway Engineering group at Delft University of Technology, from which graduated in 2016. During this program, Harm is developed a Rolling Pantograph for use in heavy rail. Instead of having a failure prone sliding mechanism contacting the train and the catenary, the Rolling Pantograph increases reliability by rolling along the catenary. A prototype of the Rolling Pantograph was presented at the end of 2015.

    • Tribology and Contact Mechanics
    • Electrical Contacts
    • Dynamics
    • Pantograph-Catenary Interaction

Development of a rolling railway current collector prototype

Due to the increase of railway traffic on the conventional railway and increasing demands of both passengers and politics the influence of broken catenary contact wires on the performance of the railway system increases. Broken contact wires can be directly related to contact wire wear, which is highly influenced by the contact dynamics (high contact forces and contact losses) of the combined pantograph-catenary-system. Above that, the presence of defects in the system proves to have detrimental effects on its behaviour. This research aims at the development of a rolling current collector in order to attain a more robust current collection system. At the moment, a first prototype for testing purposes is developed. Therefore the design space has been narrowed down by the development of several models. Among these are a model concerning the electrical conductivity of the contact and the roller and a model describing the deformations and stresses and the development of the contact area. Also the temperature rise due to Joule heating and friction in the contact area is modelled. Research into the dynamics of the system is performed by the development of a mathematical model describing the dynamic properties of a catenary containing defects. The development process is extra complicated by the coupling of the design variables throughout this models. The implementation of a rolling contact element introduces another interface that connects the roller electrically to the train. Therefore work is done to develop a small, lightweight current conduction device capable of handling the high electrical currents required to drive a train.

Future work includes the testing of the build prototype to make a preliminary assessment of the quality of the rolling current collector.

Harm is interested in working on complex design issues involving many stakeholders. An important part of the PDEng traineeship has been devoted to learning how to solve multidiscplinary or integral design problems. This broad view is worked ouot in a new MOOC on Railways, which is currently being developed at TU Delft.

Ir. Harm Visser

Technical Staff

+31 (0) 15 278 24 99
Building: 23, room S2 1.57

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