Novel bogie allows for longer and faster rail vehicles. By Rosie Hardy
Tucked underneath a rail vehicle body, bogies are rarely noticed by the passenger. However, they are essential to the operation of the rail vehicle as they provide the drive, braking and suspension systems. Named after the inventor, the Jacobs Bogie is a type of bogie used in multi-unit rail vehicles. They are placed between two bodies, taking the weight of each one.
Bombardier has a long-standing reputation in the field of bogies. Faced with the need for longer rail vehicles and vehicles to follow curved tracks at higher speeds, the company has developed an innovative version of the Jacobs Bogie, with an improved design.
This new bogie is protected in the UK and other European countries by European Patent 3109121 B. It has three axles, providing six wheels (a to f). As seen in the patent drawings, it comprises two bogie frames (1.1,1.2), connected by a coupling rod (1.3). A transitional support (2) is formed from two cantilever supports (2.1, 2.2) that lie opposite one another, along the longitudinal axis of the bogie. These supports project beyond the two frames and under the mutually-facing ends of the rail vehicle bodies. The bodies are then connected to the cantilever support by articulated knuckle joints (22.214.171.124).
Having three axles rather than the conventional two, the bogie is able to reduce axle load, allowing for longer-rail vehicles. It may also support a transition vehicle body (30b). Intellectual property rights, such as patents, provide a period of exclusivity that can help businesses to achieve a return on investment. During this time, businesses can leverage the value of their ideas by being able to build market share for their patented products and offer licences to third parties. Without patent protection, their innovation is not secure and could be freely copied by competitors.
Before applying for patent protection, it is important to assess the benefits it might bring and to consider whether this is in line with the company’s intellectual property strategy. There are many potential advantages of patent protection. For example, ownership of a patented technology could open the door to funding and lucrative commercial agreements at the same time as allowing businesses in the UK to qualify for Corporation Tax relief under the Patent Box regime.