Siemens speeds development of maglev system

Siemens Digital Industries Software has announced that skyTran, developer of a personal rapid transit system taking aim at the world of gridlocked traffic, is using software from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio to develop and manufacture a new maglev transport system. Using Simcenter™ MAGNET™ software, skyTran reduced physical prototyping costs by 90 percent.

 Founded in 2011 and now a NASA Space Act company, skyTran is headquartered in Huntington Beach, California. skyTran is a high-capacity, personal mass transit system and its on-demand, personal occupancy vehicles allow riders and cargo to travel above the road at motorway speeds and beyond. Vehicles operate autonomously and use proprietary switching technology to safely navigate complex guideway networks direct-to-destination without the constraints of ground-based corridors.

 The system uses a modified and improved maglev variant called electrodynamic suspension based on coupled levitation and propulsion systems. skyTran’s propulsion system uses a drive motor with a magnetic rotor and aluminum stator. In contrast, the levitation system uses the electromagnets in the vehicle and their interaction with the steel guideways.

 To develop this revolutionary transport system, skyTran has a full-scale test rig, but each test takes a lot of time and cost. Additionally, it can be difficult to visualize what’s happening in the physical system while it is operating. Gaining further insight necessitated adding sensors but these can influence the results from the test rig. To overcome this, the team wanted a simulation solution that could help reduce the scale of the test rig program and interrogate the test in new, faster and cheaper ways. skyTran chose Simcenter MAGNET from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio to help them confront these issues.

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