Duplex reinforces bus bodies
Close cooperation with Stalatube facilitated compliance with new requirements
In 2017, reinforcement requirements of buses will be updated in such a manner that all manufacturers will have to come up with new bus frame solutions. The fact that all buses should also generate less emissions makes finding new options even more challenging. This means that the weight of the frame cannot be increased.
One of the bus manufacturers who is still wrestling with the optimal frame structure is SOE Bus Production, a company that manufactures Scania buses in Lahti, Finland, which is also the home of Stalatube. Scania will launch a new range of bodies this spring. The key difference from the previous models is that as much as 10–15% of the structures are manufactured from Duplex. Only a couple of per cent of the older bodies is made from LeanDuplex, which is clearly stronger than grade 4003 ferritic stainless steel.
– “With Duplex, we can optimise weight and dimensions, as well as add reinforcements at specific critical points,” explains Development Manager Harri Kankaanpää of SOE Bus Production.
Some weight savings will also be achieved. The high corrosion resistance of Duplex is another advantage in vehicle structures.
The first bodies complying with the new reinforcement requirements are already being manufactured in Lahti even though compliance with the new regulations is not mandatory until more than twelve months from now.
“I believe that we are the first company, or at least one of the first, to adopt body structures that comply with the new regulations,” Kankaanpää says.
The change was so easy for SOE Bus Production that they were able to start manufacture early. The reason for the easy change was cooperation with Stalatube.
“We are continously involved in product development cooperation with Stalatube, which makes our work more flexible in many ways. It allows us to react easier and faster to new developments,” Kankaanpää says.
The cooperation with Stalatube has been ongoing for years.
– “For us, it has meant not only short lead times and delivery distances but also development of products in close cooperation. At present, all of the tube components used in the bodies are delivered by Stalatube as components ready for assembly,” Kankaanpää says.
– The required components are delivered directly to the correct assembly point, ready to be assembled. This means that the company is able to manufacture two bus bodies per day.
– “This is faster than before: a couple of years ago we were able to manufacture one bus per day,” Kankaanpää says.
The close cooperation with the customer makes responding to needs easier also for Stalatube.
- “Since we are familiar with the customer and the challenges they face, we are able to respond to their needs and continuously develop our operations and product portfolio in a way that benefits the customer,” says Jori Määttänen, SBA Manager of Stalatube Oy.