Swedish steel prize nominee 2015
Rail transportation system
2015 | Milotek Pty Ltd | South Africa 6 min read
What started off as an idea to improve how goods move has become a patented innovation that is cheaper, more environmentally friendly and easier to install than most modern day transportation systems.
The futran system is a modular elevated track with self-propelled trains that can carry heavy loads. It has few moving parts and modularized components with a simplified design for easy installation and minimized maintenance costs. Each section of track has an 18-meter span that uses suspension bridge technology with bogies that are clamped to the track. These can travel from horizontal to vertical up to 90km/h while carrying as much as 20 tons each.
“Our Futran System is a suspended transportation system for a cost effective alternative to rail, trucks, conveyor belts, busses, taxis and even underground mine haulage systems,” explains Andries Louw, founder and CEO of Milotek. “We see it as the perfect solution for transporting bulk, freight and stock as well as for urban public transportation. It has a small footprint and is a very suitable solution for rugged terrain, which makes it optimal for use in places like Africa.”
The Futran System utilizes the high strength steels Strenx and Hardox from SSAB in components such as the track, the legs of the superstructure, the suspension system, the hanger brackets as well as the skips used for ore haulage. Furthermore, by using the high strength steel Strenx 700 as opposed to steel cables, the cost of the suspension system can be cut by 85 -percent.
Production takes place at the Milotek factory in South Africa. Upon completion, the entire support structure is flat packed for easy delivery and assembly on-site.
Two prototypes have been built so far; one indoors prototype/display line of 60 meters for component testing and an outdoors line of 1 km on site in Brits, close to Rustenburg, for continuous improvement testing under operating conditions.
When it comes to benefits, the Futran System provides many. The track itself weighs only 37kg per meter and it can carry 2 tons per meter. Effectively, when moving 2 tons per meter at 50km/h or more, this means that it has a higher capacity than even the heaviest rail systems in the world.