ICE 4 ©Oliver Lang/Deutsche Bahn AG

The New Lightness of German Railways

The ICE 4 is the future flagship of the Deutsche Bahn. Development objective: lighter, more comfortable, and more energy efficient. A mission for Siemens, and for innovative adhesive tapes.

Nov 29, 2016

The new ICE loses weight – lightweight engineering is heavy labor

Nothing is more difficult than realizing lightweight constructions. Nevertheless, the engineers working on the ICE 4 have succeeded in making it a true lightweight, compared to its predecessors. Thanks to the newly constructed carrying bogies and railcar bodies, the energy consumption compared to the ICE 1 dropped by 22 percent per seat. By comparison, the weight of the ICE 4 is reduced by a total of 120 tons.

What is the weight of an adhesive strip? Can it actually help to further reduce weight? Daniel Mellentin, Market Manager at tesa SE, smiles: "Yes – but not by optimizing the adhesive tape. However, the technical characteristics of our product make a significant contribution to the effective and cost-optimized processing of materials used in modern lightweight construction."

Preparing the ground

While the carriers roll in a stable and precise way thanks to laser welding, ever more often, innovative adhesives are used in interior and exterior construction. Composite materials, lightweight construction and elevated aesthetic requirements make the use of traditional technologies ever rarer. Thanks to considerable advantages in terms of processing, optics and technical properties, professional adhesive tapes become increasingly popular.

Michael Schmäcke, Siemens: "For example, in mounting pultruded profiles (4 KT tube) as support area for the floor panels in the new car fleet. Here, too, we've looked for ways to create a stable, light and optimized construction." Permanent bonding of the 4 KT tubes with the shell made of lacquered steel sheet is achieved by the adhesive tape tesa® ACXplus 7074.

International cooperation

"With this step, we benefit from several technical and organizational advantages," says Daniel Mellentin. "On the one hand, the profiles can be equipped with our adhesive tape already by the suppliers in Germany and abroad. Furthermore, we achieve a constant layer thickness, thus, avoiding squeezing under load. "And finally, the total process costs were significantly lower compared to the planned liquid bonding of the 4 KT tubes.

This is just one example of many applications where leading manufacturers of rail vehicles rely on professional tesa® tapes. Besides the technical advantages, Mellentin also sees the reasons for this in the good customer relationship management. "We are committed to long-term partnerships, where together with our clients we work on innovative solutions. This often results in individual product ideas, which are personally accompanied by our team during the development process and lead to practical use with or for our clients."