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Perth Rail B-Series trains.

Rail standard quality at a more competitive price.

Downer EDI manufactures new freight and passenger rolling stock and maintains existing rolling stock and infrastructures.

Since 2004 Downer EDI Rail and Bombardier Transportation have manufactured the B-Series class of trains that serve part of the Transperth network. These trains are being manufactured in Maryborough, Queensland.

The relationship between Castech Solutions and Downer EDI Rail started in 2006 when EDI was looking for suppliers that could help reduce the cost of undercarriage components.

The list of items included critical safety components with very strict requirements for material properties and tight machining tolerances. Therefore, the possibility of sourcing from a low-cost source had previously not been explored by EDI. Using pre-qualified manufacturing partners Castech could offer consistently compliant parts at attractive prices.

To ensure the customers requirements were met, Castech conducted an extensive technical review with the customer and developed comprehensive product specific specifications, documents and drawings. In consultation with the customer, design changes that did not affect the operation of the parts but which simplified manufacture allowing for further cost reduction and quality improvement to be achieved.

Castech has consistently demonstrated its ability to meet the stringent requirements for quality, on-time delivery and robust documentation that was necessary for Downer Rail to meet its build schedule and satisfy the high standards associated with rail industry.  

Image 1. Example of a bogie (left, 13.5kg) and a suspension (right, 86kg) components supplied in the scope of the
project. Both components are manufactured by investment casting of a Carbon Mn steel grade.

Castech maintains a very close relationship with our manufacturing partners, therefore we are well aware of their capabilities and expertise. This fact allowed Castech to select manufacturers that could consistently manufacture and assure compliance with the specified requirements. Moreover, our team of inspectors assists the foundries with understanding the key quality requirements and monitors the manufacturer's production process to achieve the expected quality. Castech also performs a final inspection of the parts to verify the manufacturer's quality inspection prior to the release of any goods.

Traceability of castings and their associated inspection results for retrieval upon request is a mandatory requirement for these parts. Castech stores inspection data in a customised fully searchable database providing customers with fast, convenient and reliable access to inspection results upon request.

Image 2. Inspection procedures (CMM, Dye Penetrant and UT) for a bogie component (62 kg, Combined process, Carbon Mn Steel).

The scope of this project covers 14 parts ranging from 3.1 to 86 kg; see Table 1 for details. Four of Castech's manufacturing partners were involved in the project.

Table 1. Summary of families of castings supplied to EDI for the B-Series trains.
 Part Type Grades   Processes
 Bogie Carbon Mn Steel  Investment casting
Combined process
Sand Casting
 Undercarriage Carbon Mn Steel Investment casting
 Suspension NiCrMo Steel Investment casting
 Drawing NiCrMo Steel   Combined process
 Car safety Carbon Mn Steel  Sand Casting 

The parts have been supplied to the facilities in Maryborough, Queensland, in batches optimized for EDI´s production needs. Castech Solutions adapted its production batches to ensure availability and avoid delays to EDI's build schedule.

During the two years of relationship Castech has kept an outstanding record on customer metrics. Figure 1 shows the scorecard for Castech on 2012.

Image 2. Supplier performance results for Castech Solutions for 2012.

This project shows that important cost reductions can be achieved in high quality requirement industries by using low-cost manufacturing. Supplying from Castech, EDI could reduce its costs without having to create any structure in the manufacturing country.