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Enhancing power distribution through improved manufacturing

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The rail industry plays a pivotal role in modern transportation systems, providing a sustainable and efficient means of moving people and goods. Reliable power distribution solutions are at the heart of the industry, ensuring the safe and efficient operation of trains and related infrastructure.

In recent years, improved manufacturing techniques have brought significant benefits to power distribution solutions for the rail sector and, at Samuel James Engineering, we have also been taking advantage of these advances with a particular focus on performance-improving technologies, digital solutions, and developing our team’s core capabilities. We have also been fully committed to embedding the Unipart Way tools and techniques into our everyday tasks, with process improvements that have enabled us to deliver significantly reduced lead times for our customers.

Power distribution products

Samuel James Engineering possesses extensive expertise in design and development, application engineering, prototype manufacturing, repair, and consultancy at every stage of a system or product’s life cycle. We offer an unrivalled range of high-quality Network Rail approved rail power products from Shore Supplies, Signalling Supply Panels (including PSPs, ASPs, FSPs), and UPS Systems as well, as Points Heating solutions, DNOs, Distribution, and Lighting Control Cubicles.


Enhanced team capabilities

One of the key drivers of improved manufacturing capability in the rail industry is the development and enhancement of team capabilities and, as a Unipart company, we recognise the power of our people and ensure we provide everyone with the right opportunities to continually develop.

Cross-functional collaboration

Modern manufacturing teams in the rail industry are characterised by their cross-functional nature. Engineers, designers, and manufacturing specialists work together closely from the quote through to the design and final production stages. Our collaborative approach and customer engagement principles ensure that our power distribution solutions are not only efficient but also optimised for cost-effectiveness and reliability.

Specialised training

To keep up with the rapidly changing technology landscape, manufacturers in the rail industry invest in specialised training for their teams. This includes training on the latest design software, advanced manufacturing techniques, and quality control processes. These well-trained teams are better equipped to design and produce cutting-edge power distribution solutions, and being co-located in Coventry, we also have access to Unipart’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) facility.

Lean processes for reduced lead time

We focus on eliminating waste, streamlining operations, and optimising resource utilisation. These lean manufacturing principles have significantly reduced lead times in the production of our range of power distribution solutions.

We have also developed our procurement and manufacturing processes to ensure efficient material handling, reduced energy consumption, and zero defects. Our streamlining improvements result in shorter production times, smoother workflows, and provide us with the ability to deliver to an agreed schedule.

Samuel James Engineering was acquired by Unipart Rail in 2019 and is located on the Unipart Coventry site. Our improved manufacturing practices have brought significant benefits to power distribution solutions in the rail industry. The enhanced team capabilities and adoption of lean processes have played a pivotal role in reducing lead times, improving efficiency, and lowering costs.
As the rail industry continues to evolve, manufacturers need to stay committed to innovation and collaboration to meet the industry’s ever-growing demands for reliable power distribution solutions.

We at Samuel James Engineering are excited for a positive future supporting the E&P sector, and are confident the advancements we’ve made will contribute to the industry’s overall sustainability and continued success.

Gripple SwiftLine Rail Dropper – a game changer for the industry

The goal for the UK rail infrastructure to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 presents a formidable challenge, compounded by the current status of electrification, which stands at just over a third (38%) of the rail network. With such a significant gap to bridge, a transformative approach to the development and adoption of innovative solutions is paramount, as these will play a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency of electrification initiatives, propelling the industry towards its ambitious environmental objectives.

To overcome one of the biggest challenges faced by OLE engineers, which is time, Gripple has worked in collaboration with the rail industry to introduce the new SwiftLine Rail Dropper, which is changing the game for rail electrification.

Approved by Network Rail, the Gripple SwiftLine Rail Dropper is a revolutionary solution to delivering maintenance projects faster and more efficiently. Pre-cut, pre-measured, and completely tool-free, it is faster, safer, and easier to install than traditional rail droppers.
Available in a range of adjustable drop lengths from 1.1 to 2.2 metres, the pre-assembled design enables tool-free installation with minimal training, making projects much simpler and safer, and limiting the time engineers spend working at height and in the dark.
Manufactured in the UK in carbon neutral facilities, all Gripple rail droppers are produced to the highest standards and can be supplied ‘just in time’, as and when maintenance teams require them. You’ve got to see it to believe it!

Unipart Rail is the exclusive UK distributor for the Gripple SwiftLine Rail Dropper, get in touch to request a sample and learn more on our website.

SEE US AT RAIL LIVE: Find out what’s on display by scanning the QR code.

Image credit: Gripple

Rail Engineer is the leading independent quality monthly magazine for engineers, project managers, directors and leading rail executive decision makers. Head to www.railsubs.com to make a free subscription to RailEngineer magazine or one of its sister publications.


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