The oldest fleet on the Metro Trains Melbourne network, the Comeng trains first welcomed passengers back in 1982, when they were the only air-conditioned carriages in the network. The doors on these trains were originally manual sliding doors.
In its almost 40 years of service, the Comeng fleet has gone through multiple phases of refurbishments and upgrades. The latest, which began in 2017 and is due for completion this year, aims to improve the safety of the train doors, among other upgrades for passenger safety and comfort.
Lockelec Rolling Stock, a leading provider of engineering services and parts to the rail, telecommunication, aerospace and automotive industries, was appointed last year to help upgrade the door mechanisms for the Comeng trains. The Door Overhaul programme was a part of the Comeng Technical Maintenance Plan Uplift (TMP Uplift) which will enable the Comeng Disc Fleet to perform reliably during the fleet’s life extension.
The company’s Technical Procurement Manager, Saeed Yousefi says The Comeng Fleet is required to remain in service beyond the intended minimum design life of the train, with life extension activities completed by others and to support the ongoing serviceability of the Comeng fleet. In light of this, a door overhaul has been identified. The fleet door had been refurbished before by
only replacing like-to-like refurbishment and all the components were replaced with the same design and brand parts.
Lockelec Rolling Stock was selected to manage sourcing, manufacturing and pre-assembly of required parts for door slide mechanism. This included ensuring that all the parts and assembly works comply with the project requirements, making the choice of the most reliable components extremely important for this project.
“Train doors are obviously among the most important parts of the metro. If a door mechanism fails or malfunctions, it can stall hundreds of passengers and disrupt the network,” says Saeed.
As part of the upgrades to the door mechanism, Lockelec Rolling Stock was looking for reliable chains among other changes to the rollers and motors in the sliding doors. According to Saeed, their search for the most reliable chains in the market led Lockelec to CBC and eventually to using the Diamond® brand of chains for the job.
“We were looking for very specific chains for this project that could meet our expectations for quality consistency. Alex Bayati, Application Specialist – Power Transmission at CBC, was very helpful in providing us with technical support we needed. With his help, we were able to confirm that Diamond chains met the standard requirements for our application,” says Saeed.
Once the chains passed stringent requirements from Lockelec engineers, next came the delivery. The complete task of upgrading the door mechanism for 58 Comeng trains required 2000 pieces of chains, cut accurately to specific lengths.
This was not as simple as ordering the chains in one order and stocking them at the project site, according to Saeed.
“We wanted all of the chains made in one production round to ensure consistent quality, but we could not afford to order all of those chains in one order and stock them for the year-long project. CBC agreed to order the chains from Diamond, cut them to the correct sizes and stock them at their local warehouse for staggered delivery throughout the year,” says Saeed.
“Also, CBC’s prices were lower than other competitors as they sourced the chains directly from Diamond. Having a supplier that is in direct contact with the manufacturer was another plus point in the partnership. We knew that if any problem came up, we could provide a quick response to our client,” he adds.
Starting last September, Lockelec Rolling Stock has already delivered door mechanism upgrades for 30 Comeng trains and is continuing the upgrades at the rate of two to three trains every fortnight. The project is expected to be completed by July 2021.
Leon Stefanec, CBC Area Sales Manager, says Lockelec Rolling Stocks has already expanded is relationship with CBC, moving beyond chains to source other critical components from CBC.
“They are a relatively new customer but after the positive collaboration on the rail project, they have since bought some other products from us as well,” says Leon.
Saeed says Lockelec Rolling Stocks is happy to have found a reliable supplier
“As technical procurement manager, my job is to source high quality products and reliable services from trusted suppliers and that in turn helps us in building trust-based relationships with our customers. CBC is well known in the industry for power-transmission solutions, but more importantly, their strong technical support was the main reason we decided to work with them, and we look forward to working with them in the future.”