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An innovative traction system for lighter and more efficient trains

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An innovative traction system for lighter and more efficient trains

A converter designed from silicon carbide semiconductor (SiC) for a higher switching speed or greater thermal conductivity

  • Customer


  • Sector


  • Lines of specialisation

    Energy and Power Electronics

  • Programme

    Horizon 2020

  • Challenge

    The railway industry is in a constant seek of technologically advanced solutions allowing the creation of trains increasingly lighter, reliable and efficient. IKERLAN collaborated with CAF Power & Automation in order to satisfy the recent needs of the railway transportation, as weight reduction and energy efficiency of trains.

  • Solution

    This solution is a converter designed from silicon carbide semiconductor (SiC). It is a material that is emerging in the railway industry, which improves the features of common components, such as a higher switching speed or greater thermal conductivity, key factors for a better performance in these type of devices. Converters are key elements for the operation of a railway system, since they transform the electrical power in the force driving the engines of a train.

    The potential offered by SiC technology has been proven thanks to a real scale prototype developed in collaboration by both entities. The development has been performed within the framework of the European project Roll2Rail

  • Customer benefits

    This innovative electric traction system for trains allows 30% size reduction, 20% weight reduction and reduce the losses of the devices used by 50%.

    Additionally this technology is not only applicable to traction systems in trains, but to all those converters in which efficiency and system volume play a key role, such as new generation of electrical vehicles, industrial sector or renewable energies. 


"This project represents a starting point for the application of SiC technology to converters of railway vehicles, which will lead to an increment in the capacities of our trains and energy saving. This type of projects helps us to reassert our position as reference in design and manufacture of railway systems, and to stay on the cutting edge of technology".

Txomin Nieva

Director of Product Development of CAF Power & Automation

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