Rail engineering and rail innovation are moving as fast as the trains themselves.  While radical conceptual departures like the Hyperloop catch the headlines, new developments and applications in existing rail platforms happen constantly.

Seal-Fast™: Edge Seal

Trains and their support structure are getting connected – they are joining the “Internet of Things” (IoT).  Examples are everywhere: using three motors to lift and shift rails to combat switch or point’s failure -a major cause of delays: active steering which allows greater speed on bends:  active pantographs which optimize the contact and energy flow regardless of terrain and green solutions like low carbon concrete.

It is worth noting that there is also institutional pressure helping rail in the EU:  in April French lawmakers in the National Assembly took the first step to ban short-haul internal flights where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours – an accommodation to climate change considerations.

Trains have in many cases now matched or surpassed aerospace tech sophistication.  Advances have been driven by finding solutions to increasing levels of government regulation.  This sophistication encompasses not just the technology required to run the train itself but also the complete user experience -from overall coach design to the “in-flight entertainment” components.

At the core of the rail industry design and build system, Silicone rubber is being used extensively as it has hundreds of applications.  Some examples:

Exterior Interior
  • Light and door seals
  • Cabinet enclosure seals for brakes/HVAC
  • Wayside cabinets/enclosures
  • Vibration reduction
  • Control and access panels
  • Door seals
  • Inter car connectors
  • Insulation
  • HVAC seals
  • LED and monitor displays
  • Under floor wiring ducts
  • Telecom racks for wireless routers/switching.

Silicone’s performance characteristics make it highly versatile:

Flexible and durable Easy to apply, flexible with a high tear strength and abrasion-resistant
Low compression set It recovers its original shape after compression. Critical for doors that open and close hundreds of times a day.
Environmental challenges Resistant to adverse weather conditions, UV, & ozone. An ideal fit for external uses that are fully exposed to the elements at high speeds.
Flame, Smoke, Toxicity In rail environments, fire is a major danger. Components in rail systems made of silicone improve the overall fire safety envelope as Silicone has high levels of fire resistance and self-extinguishing characteristics, resists smoke development, and has a high-temperature excursion range that further diminishes a potential fire outbreak.
Resistant to fluid spills Resists oil and solvent-based fluids.

DTi Silicone Seals

DTI specializes in products that help protect wiring, data flow and their electronic system environment.  We offer an extensive range of US-made silicone seals with hundreds of profiles.  They are tested to high and rigorous international standards and specifications- critical for any project but vital for customer-facing situations.  Safety is a key priority.

Seal-Fast™: Edge Seal

DTi’s Seal-Fast® range of Silicone seals holds international fire, smoke, and toxicity safety accreditations such as:

  • EN45545-2
  • UL94V0
  • NFPA 130
  • Bombardier SMP 800c

Rail FST Standards Met by DTi 

General Standards
– EN 45545-2                          European Union standard for fire testing for railway components
– NFPA 130                             Standard for fire protection & safety for guideways in Transit & Passenger Rail systems

Flame Standards
– ASTM E162                         Surface flammability.
– ASTM C1166                       Flame propagation

Smoke Standards
– ASTM E1354                      Release rates for both heat and visible smoke.
– ASTM E662                        Optical density of smoke.

Toxicity Standards
– ASTM E662/BSS 7239      Toxic gas generation by materials during combustion   (US and EU)

DTi Flexibility and Speed
DTi Seals (Silicone, EPDM, and PVC) are available off the shelf in many profiles and a spectrum of sizes and sheet thickness ranges. 100’s of others can be made to order with short lead times.  All production is US made which can help with local “Buy America” sourcing requirements as necessary. Pre-cut lengths, assembly kits, and one-piece (picture frame type) assemblies are available with pre-joined film bonded and/or vulcanized terminating ends.

We build custom seals with clients using Customized Finite Element Analysis (CFEA) to digitally test prototypes before production – which speeds up delivery to you.

Silicone rubber is critical to the rail industry and its use will continue to grow.  Our client base is expanding but here are a few of the rail applications we have successfully served.

  • Euro Based Train OEM                                  Locomotive Engine compartment
  • North American Based Train OEM                 Coach door and window seals
  • Multi-National Train OEM                               Power Supply door panel seal
  • Asia Train OEM                                              Exterior enclosure seals for Braking System on M-9 Cars

Seals are just one part of DTi’s product catalog.  We also supply high-performance wire protection grommet edging, braided cable sleeving, fiber management modules, and edge trims.

For more information on Seal-Fast Silicone seals go here

For free samples go here