Digital Displacement for Non-Passenger Rail Applications

Digital Displacement for Non-Passenger Rail Applications

Artemis Intelligent Power 

With support from Direct Rail Services Ltd and Institute of Railway Research, University of Huddersfield


Artemis Intelligent Power will investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of using Digital Displacement (DD) technology to reduce carbon in the rail freight sector. They will focus on 4 areas: small freight locos; high-power locos; auxiliary drives; specialist freight.


Dr Gordon Voller, Artemis Intelligent Power

How would you describe your project in one Tweet (i.e. 280 characters)?
"Artemis Intelligent Power is collaborating with Direct Rail Services and the University of Huddersfield’s IRR to investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of using Digital Displacement technology to reduce carbon emissions from non-passenger rail vehicles."

What are the benefits for industry, within in the context of the wider decarbonisation landscape?  
"Non-passenger rail applications which can benefit from Digital Displacement technology:

  • Transmissions for freight  locomotives (shunters through to locomotives) - lower cost, closed-loop control, hybrid capability and regenerative braking. The infinitely variable transmission (IVT) system, allows engine speed to be optimally controlled for maximum efficiency.
  • Auxiliary drives for  locomotives – energy saving through improved efficiency and optimal control.
  • Powering on-track  equipment - these vehicles use hydrostatic systems for propel and work functions. The ability to provide multiple independent outputs from one DD pump simplifies the systems; reducing cost and complexity."

This project builds on previous work on Digital Displacement. What are the successes of this technology to date, and what are you hoping to achieve with this project?
"A Digital Displacement hydraulic hybrid rail transmission was demonstrated in a previous RSSB-funded research project.  The test programme proved the reliability in a working demonstrator. The initial results were in line with our modelling which predicted that fuel savings of 30% are obtainable. Artemis also worked with ScotRail to trial Digital Displacement pumps in the auxiliary drive of a DMU, which also demonstrated significant fuel economies. The technology is now being made available to the rail industry by Unipart Rail and Danfoss. Following the successful completion of these projects Artemis is keen to explore options to commercialise its transmission technology for rail applications."

The Artemis team: from left Dr Gordon Voller, Engineering Manager, Stephen Laird, Research Manager, and on the right Prof Win Rampen, Director

Team members
Job title and organisation
Dr Gordon Voller
Engineering Manager
Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd
  • Mechanical design
  • Tribology
  • Fluid power
Prof Win Rampen
Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd
  • Energy production
  • Transmission and storage
  • Mechanical design
  • Fluid power
Stephen Laird
Research Manager
Artemis Intelligent Power
  • Digital hydraulics
  • Embedded software and electronics
Andy Martlew
T&RS Development Engineer
Direct Rail Services
  • Locomotive design
  • Freight operations
Prof Paul Allen
Institute of Railway Research
University of Huddersfield
  • Wheel-rail contact
  • Computer modelling of railway vehicle suspensions
  • Remote condition monitoring
Dr Messaoud Mehafdi
Senior Lecturer in Accountancy
Huddersfield Business School
  • Making management accounting more effective by de-linking it from the shareholder value maximisation model

Reports and Research in Brief