Page 3: Product development
Both companies began to work together to turn the theoretical concept into a real product. Having made the decision to pursue the project, it was important to assess the unique elements of the idea and identify any advantages it would provide. As a basis, the old vehicles were tested to assess performance requirements, tolerances, kinematics, weight etc.
Building a prototype
A critical task was to integrate the new with the old, using standard products from generic concept vehicles forming part of the Adtranz current product platforms. Computer-aided design (CAD) was used to develop the design for the vehicle. CAD works like an electronic drawing board, allowing complex two and three-dimensional shapes to be modelled quickly and accurately on screen. The next step was to build a prototype. A prototype is a key stage of development where a mock up is made to represent, as closely as possible, the final finished vehicle both internally and externally. As many production components as possible are incorporated at this stage.
This offers the potential of developing components and interfaces to reduce production line problems later. In addition, it provides the customer with a realistic vehicle for approval and passenger acceptance. A Mark 1 vehicle was selected and the programme started. Throughout all the project phases, Adtranz and Angel Train Contracts involved Railtrack and Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate in detailed discussions. These guided the way through various Acceptance Processes which have to be undertaken before vehicles are allowed onto the railway network.
The project was managed by using Simultaneous Engineering Teams. (SETs). These are multi-disciplinary teams comprising Engineering, Procurement, Logistics, Finance, Manufacturing and Project Management in various combinations to achieve specific goals. This meant that various tasks and activities could be planned, mapped out and completed at the same time - thus reducing timescales. Developing the new Classic Concept took just one year from the first cut of the Mark 1 bodyside to the finished prototype.
Customer service has become a key element in building of trains. Customer service describes the one-to-one relationship between the supplier and the customer - the supplier being Adtranz, the customer being the train operating company. Providing new parts and total vehicle support allows the train operators to concentrate on their core business of running trains.
Adtranz today operates in a completely different environment to that of pre-privatisation. For a manufacturer to be successful there are four key elements:
These are important facets which have to be considered at all stages of the ‘cradle to grave’ service now offered by Adtranz. Within the production area, Adtranz recognises the importance of customer focus and good customer service at all levels within its business. There are customer focus rooms where employees can analyse aspects of operations and discuss the contract. This represents a significant development involving all employees with decision-making at every stage.