XiTrack

Efficient and Cost-effective Rail Maintenance

Professor Peter Woodward has a PhD in the field of numerical geotechnics from the University of Manchester. He joined Heriot-Watt University in 1994 as a lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering and in 2010 was promoted to Professor of Railway Technical Engineering. During his PhD he worked for WS Atkins in the field of earthquake engineering, analysis and design.

Prof. Woodward has been seconded to industry for 1 day per week working on the application of polyurethane geocomposites to railway track stabilisation and reinforcement – XiTrack. This patented technology was spun-out from Heriot-Watt University and is now widely used across the UK railways and increasingly internationally.

 Balfour Beatty were investigating ways of reducing both the cost of maintenance and the amount of maintenance required when they became of Peter’s work with XiTrack. Through Balfour Beatty’s knowledge of what was required and how it may be applied to make the product and the idea work on an operating railway. Use of this system led to a three time increase in the speed of deployment of repairs.

Learn more about this innovation and its’ application in the video below.

If you are interested in learning more about consultancy services available through Heriot-Watt, please contact us and we will work with you to tailor a consultancy programme that meets your requirements please contact Iain McEwan, Business Development Executive at I.McEwan@hw.ac.uk.

IPCC warning: industry cannot be isolated or insulated from climate change

The Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has informed industry that it “cannot be insulated or isolated from the impacts of climate change”.At the industry day event organised by Heriot-Watt University (on Tuesday 26 February), he said,

“Industry and business around the world, across every sector, cannot expect to be insulated or isolated from climate change. It will impact economic growth, the availability of skilled labour, workers’ health, and the global flow of goods and raw materials. Companies which depend on climate sensitive supply of raw materials such as agricultural and dairy products may need to consider action to secure their supply chains. Large companies in particular should consider taking action now to secure their supply chains.

Dr Pachauri addressing Heriot-Watt University for the Sustainable Development Event

Dr Pachauri addressing Heriot-Watt University for the Sustainable Development Event

“I’d say, based on the findings of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC and our Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, that business has huge opportunities in tapping into the growing market for products and services that help reduce greenhouse gases and enable countries and communities to adapt to changes in the climate. They should not be left behind.”

He also hailed purse power. He said,

“Companies should consider possible reputational implications if they do not provide what society expects of them. Consumers could increasingly demand and place a higher premium on goods with a low carbon impact.”

Referring to Scotland’s targets of reducing climate emissions by 80 per cent (on 1990 levels) by 2050 he said,

“I’m very impressed by Scotland’s ambitious drive to reduce carbon emissions – this can be an example to the world.”

 Dr Pachauri Heriot-Watt University Visit to High Speed Rail testing Rig
Dr Pachauri Heriot-Watt University Visit to High Speed Rail testing Rig

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said,

“Along with other Scottish universities, our focus is on working with industry to develop solutions to global challenges through cutting-edge research – whether that’s in sectors such as high speed rail or carbon capture and storage. As part of this, we continue to develop commercially viable solutions through expanding our research intensification.”

Dr Pachauri also opened new labs at Heriot-Watt University where researchers are developing inexpensive, environmentally-friendly solar cell technology, which has a low upfront capital investment requirement and is therefore suitable for countries in the developing world. The team is being led by Professor Hari Upadhyaya who leads on energy engineering at the University’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Energy Conversion Lab using environmentally-friendly solar cell technology

Energy Conversion Lab using environmentally-friendly solar cell technology

Dr Pachauri made the comments as he addressed around 400 academics and industry leaders at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, on the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents to industry.

Industry Day Speaker – Prof. Peter Woodward

Peter Woodward, Professor of Railway Geotechnical Engineering and Director of the newly launched Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, to speak at Industry Day 2013 on the topic “The geotechnical challenges and solutions of next generation ultra-speed trains

Prof. Peter Woodward

Prof. Peter Woodward

Railway Research at Heriot-Watt University is led by Professor Peter Woodward, who has been involved in rail track developments for over a decade.

Peter and his team investigate the main issues for modern rail networks which include the need to cope with more traffic, heavier loads and higher speeds. These demands are common across the world and academics at the School of the Built Environment are at the forefront of industrially relevant research in the UK for solving these issues.

  • Prof. Woodward was appointed to the post of Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering in 1994 at Heriot-Watt University and to the post of Reader in Railways and Geotechnical Engineering in 2007. In 2010 he was promoted to Professor of Railway Geotechnical Engineering
  • Since 2001 he has been seconded to industry for 1 day per week working on the application of polyurethane geocomposites to railway track stabilisation and reinforcement. This patented technology was spun-out from Heriot-Watt University and is now widely used across the UK railways and increasingly internationally.
  • He has won multiple awards for his developed technologies, including the Highly Commended Award at the 2005 National Rail Awards, in the Innovation of the Year category.
  • He has also been a previous winner of the ICE Webb Prize (2008) and the UK Young Engineers Award (2001) amongst others.
  • He has acted as Principal Investigator on many research grants, most recently on EPSRC funded research on high-speed train track interactions at critical track velocities.

Peter will talk in Parallel Session 4 – Networks & Infrastructure. To book your place on Industry Day, click here.

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