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World’s Fastest Train Designed and Assembled in Qingdao



At the manufacturing base of CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. Ltd, a major designer of high-speed trains, Zhang Fangtao is busy giving interviews from both domestic and international media, as the 2018 Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao has attracted thousands of journalists worldwide.

In the driver’s cabin of a bullet train, Zhang Fangtao said that the train could run at a speed of up to 350 km/hr, which is fastest in the world for commercial operations. “Now passengers traveling on the routes between Beijing and Shanghai, and between Beijing and Guangzhou can sit in the high-speed trains like this one, the Fuxing CR400AF. Some of them would put a coin on the windowsill to see whether the train can move steadily at such a high speed,” said Zhang. 

Located in the Jihongtan Town of Cheng Yang District of Qingdao, the manufacturing plant of the high-speed trains covers an area the size of 248 football fields. Besides the plant, the town is seeing multiple research institutions and a series of industrial chain companies related to high-speed trains under construction. In China, Jihongtan has a nickname “The Bullet Train Town.”

China owns full intellectual property rights over the trains by using homegrown technologies. The high-speed trains are also called as the high-speed electric multiple unit, or EMU, trains.

CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. Ltd started to carry out scientific research and develop the Fuxing EMU trains as early as 2012. Designing and manufacturing the high-speed train is an extremely complicated project, which involves countless top-level technologies.

The train contains more than 500,000 different machine components, and it took thousands of designs on different parts of the train. To design the head of the train, the research team at first came up with 46 different head models, 23 of which were selected. Then seven of them went through tests. The final winner looked like the front face of a dragon and was given the nickname “Flying Dragon.” Such a design successfully reduced wind resistance by 12%. According to the company, the paper used to print all the designs can pile up as high as one meter. 

So far, high-speed trains in China have received more than 1,000 patents. Before being put into operation, the trains have to go through stringent tests at a speed between 200 km/hr and 400km/hr and also experience extreme weather conditions at 40 degrees Celsius and minus 40 degrees Celsius. In 2015, the Fuxing EMU models took an accumulative trail test of more than 610,000 kilometers, a distance of 15 trips around the Equator.

Tan Zheng, Vice General Manager of the Overseas Marketing Department of the CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. Ltd, says that the CR400AF model has received its first overseas orders from Indonesia this year. Besides high-speed trains, the company also designs and manufactures diesel multiple-unit trains, metro trains, intercity EMUs and metro vehicles based on special tailored orders from other countries.

So far, 43% of the high-speed trains in the world are assembled in the coastal city of Qingdao. As of 2017, CRRC Sifang Co., Ltd. had signed export orders to send about 5,000 trains to 20 countries and regions. (Source:

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NSK Molded-Oil bearings extend service life in food plant conveyor application



A vegetable processing plant in Germany is enjoying significant benefits following the adoption of Molded-Oil bearings from NSK. Principally, the move has helped the company extend the service life of bearings on a critical conveyor from two weeks, to 40, saving considerable maintenance costs and downtime in the process.

Keen to resolve the question of why its previous bearings were failing at such an unusually fast rate, and eliminate the associated cost and time issues, the company asked NSK to investigate.

During the inspection, NSK experts soon determined the cause. Due to the rigorous hygiene standards demanded by food industry regulations, the system was cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. However, it was found that the cleaning process prompted considerable quantities of water to penetrate the bearings and, as a result, wash away the lubricating grease.

To help combat the challenges presented by the frequently required wash cycles, NSK recommended the use of its sealed Molded-Oil bearings.

A special tribology concept (tribology is the science of wear, friction and lubrication) has been implemented for Molded-Oil bearings. For instance, the bearings are equipped with NSK’s proprietary oil-impregnated material, which comprises lubricating oil and an oil-related polyolefin resin. This material releases the lubricant, which cannot be washed out due to its consistency, continuously over a long period. At the same time, the carrier material prevents water or solid impurities from penetrating the bearing.

By adopting the bearings, service life at the plant has increased from two weeks to more than nine months. This highly successful outcome once again confirmed NSK’s ‘rule of thumb’ that Molded-Oil bearings achieve at least twice the service life of conventional grease-lubricated bearings in water and dust-contaminated environments. In this particular case, service life increased by a factor of 40.

The plant is also experiencing many other benefits. For instance, the operating environment remains clean because no grease escapes and no oil needs to be refilled. Molded-Oil bearings are therefore ideally suited to food industry applications, where thorough and frequent cleaning processes are essential. The use of stainless steel for the bearing components also contributes to this suitability.

NSK supplied the bearings for the vegetable processing plant with highly effective contact seals (DDU) on both sides for even higher levels of protection. This option is available for the standard range of Molded-Oil ball bearings. Molded-Oil is also available on spherical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings.
The special features of Molded-Oil bearings and other bearing series developed by NSK for applications in food processing are described in a new brochure, which is available as an e-book at

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New Trends

Anybus X-gateways from HMS offer connectivity to Ethernet POWERLINK



Ethernet POWERLINK becomes the 17th industrial network to be included in the Anybus® X-gateway™ offering. The new gateways enable system integrators and machine builders to connect POWERLINK-systems to any other fieldbus or industrial Ethernet network.Ethernet POWERLINK is an industrial Ethernet network originating from the Austrian automation company B+R, established as a leading network for machine building and system integration around the world.

POWERLINK will be the 17th network supported by the Anybus X-gateway concept from HMS. The new X-gateway versions enable system integrators and machine builders to easily connect POWERLINK systems to and from any other fieldbus or industrial network. The new Anybus X-gateway enables communication between Ethernet POWERLINK and PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Ethernet Modbus-TCP, CC-Link IE Field, PROFIBUS, DeviceNet, CANopen, Modbus RTU and CC-Link among others.

Communication set up in minutes

The new X-gateways come with a USB interface for easy configuration via the Windows-based tool Anybus Configuration Manager. No programming is necessary. The X-gateways for POWERLINK come with dual-port Ethernet interfaces and an integrated switch, removing the need for external switches.

“Ethernet POWERLINK is one of the growing Ethernet networks on the market and is especially strong with machine builders in central Europe,” says Christian Bergdahl, Product Marketing Manager at HMS. “We have offered POWERLINK connectivity in our embedded Anybus CompactCom modules for several years and now see the need to expand the offering to our Anybus X-gateways. The new gateways will enable machine builders and system integrators to connect to POWERLINK in a quick and easy way.”

What is an X-gateway?

Anybus X-gateways help system integrators to easily interconnect any two networks, enabling consistent information flow throughout the entire plant. Today´s industrial installations often include more than one industrial network, and when upgrading, most factories need to integrate Fieldbus with Industrial Ethernet. Connecting these similar or dissimilar control systems and networks can be a challenge. With over hundreds of individual Master/Slave and Slave/Slave versions, Anybus X-gateways allow users to connect almost any possible combination of industrial networks.

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