Is This The Solution to Changing Standards?
Can GRP Offer The Best Of Both Worlds When Specifying Enclosures for Changing Infrastructure Specifications?
Network Rail has switched to 2-core cable in an effort to reduce spending on trackside installations. While this is a solution to cut down on thefts overall, the cable type offers no earthing capabilities, meaning that traditional metal enclosures may no longer be suitable. This presents an opportunity for Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) enclosures.
Chris Lloyd, Managing Director of Spelsberg UK, explains why GRP enclosures offer the best of both worlds in terms of performance and price.
Like many industries in the UK, the rail industry is currently undergoing a process of cost cutting.
National Rail needs to reduce spending on trackside installations by around 20 percent, which means that OEMs and service providers are having to find ways to cut costs without impacting on quality.
The introduction of 2-core cable means that cable theft has reduced, but, as a side effect, many existing trackside products, which use metal enclosures, may be unsuitable as they are not able to provide the extra insulation that is required.
Very often, in these cases, an alternative, specialised component has to be sourced which is twice as expensive. However, in this case there may be a solution which offers all the attributes required for the new regulation while remaining cost competitive with their metal cousins.
GRP is a cost effective solution, partly because the material is cheaper but also because it is easier to shape than metals. In addition GRP is easier to machine which means that companies like Spelsberg are able to offer in-house customisations that offer an affordable solution to sourcing bespoke designs.
Even secondary costs such as delivery and installation tend to be cheaper, as the enclosures are far lighter than metal, making them easier to manoeuvre.