Kiruna Wagon has been selected to develop Europe’s next generation of bulk wagons in an international project that is part of the EU’s major investment in a competitive European industry, Horizon 2020. Also participating from Sweden are SSAB and the Division of Mechanics of Solid Materials at Luleå University of Technology, with particular focus on Solid Mechanics.

The goal of the project, which is carried out as a collaboration between nine European companies and organisations, is to create the most modern logistics system possible for the Spanish potash and salt producer Iberpotash, and thus set a new standard in European bulk logistics.

The wagon development work is the hub of the project, which includes the optimisation of the entire logistics chain – from the use of SSAB’s high strength steel in future bulk wagons to Luleå University of Technology’s investigative work to increase productivity and reduce wear during the loading and unloading of bulk materials. Kiruna Wagon’s proven Side Dumper is the basis for the new wagon and some of it’s important features are likely to form a new standard for future European bulk transport.

“The project is unique in that it combines industrial expertise in design, construction, materials and logistics with research in advanced modelling, dimensioning, fatigue and abrasion in order to find innovative solutions,” said Pär Jonsén, Associate Professor at Luleå University of Technology.

The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, has three priorities: excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges. In the area of industrial leadership there is a strong focus on innovation in small and medium enterprises.

“We believe that this approach is the right way to go in order to raise the EU’s bulk industries to the same high level of productivity, durability and safety that characterises our Swedish mining companies, and from there to the next level. We have supplied wagons to both LKAB and Boliden and that we now have this role in a European project confirms both Kiruna Wagon’s and the region’s leading position in heavy rail transport,” said Fredrik Kangas, Managing Director at Kiruna Wagon.

In addition to designing the wagon, Kiruna Wagon will also work actively to ensure that future bulk transports are carried out with long trains and high axle loads. This principle has benefits for both productivity and the environment and is successfully used by Swedish mining company LKAB, which runs 750-metre-long ore trains with 30 tonne axle loads.

The kick-off meeting for the collaboration was hosted by Kiruna Wagon in Kiruna.