Tips for Finding and Keeping Employees
Not since 1969 have so few people been unemployed in the United States. Evidence of a strong economy, but that doesn’t mean franchisees can relax. On the contrary, today’s record low unemployment rate means they must work harder than ever to hire and keep the kind of employees whose work sustains a successful business.
“It’s the hot topic of the day,” says PuroClean franchisee Keegan Trudgen. “We’re at full employment and everyone is looking for qualified workers.” Add in the high turnover typical of certain industries (think restaurants), and that makes good solutions for effective hiring, training, and retention essential.
Some of those solutions are right at hand. “It’s not in the least bit sexy,” says Trudgen, “but we’ve had success with a friends and family approach, combined with word of mouth.” He has also begun reaching out to local high school and community colleges and counselors at career centers to showcase the professional options PuroClean offers. “We’re giving people a path,” he says.
Offering a future that’s more than short-term is an effective strategy, says Lance Vaught, vice president of operations for Penn Station East Coast Subs. “Competing for employees on starting wage alone is not effective in today’s ultra-competitive hiring environment. We have always felt the type of employee our franchisees are looking to recruit is someone who wants to work their way up the ladder from day one.”
With that in mind, Vaught says, “We developed the My Penn Path development aid, which allows franchisees who are recruiting job candidates to more clearly articulate a candidate’s career path. It engages them in the process from the start and allows franchisees to compete on opportunity as much as wage.”
Technology is a popular solution for initial outreach. “Our franchisees use various online recruiting platforms, in-person restaurant recruiters, and traditional employee referrals from their crew,” says Vaught. Candidates are also asked to complete personality profiles. “These profiles help ensure that the candidate is a good fit culturally and emotionally. They also help assess which candidates stand out–those we want to quickly move on to a fast-pace promotional track.”
TJ Schier, founder and president of SMART Restaurant Group and owner of 14 franchised Which Wich sandwich locations, likes a broad spread to attract prospects. “It’s like fishing. You need to have a presence, many hooks in the water–job boards, ads, in-store, social media–with the right bait, like catchy ads.” If prospective employees nibble, they are directed to a “Day in the Life” web page where they can see what the actual workplace looks like.
Wisconsin-based BrightStar Care multi-unit franchisee Susan Rather respects in-house recommendations for recruits, but she’s doing more than just putting up posters or distributing flyers. “We are also doing mock interviews at job centers, and we’re on the boards of organizations such as Centro Hispano, which supports the Hispanic population in Madison with job coaching and resource navigation,” she says. Also helpful, she says, is that BrightStar corporate has recorded videos of its caregivers working with simulated clients.
When it comes to finding potential employees, Rather has adapted to today’s job seekers. “I’ve changed my stance on communicating with applicants by text. Previously, I thought it wouldn’t help us make a connection, but I see now that we have to communicate in the way they’re accustomed to. After we get them onboarded, we do stress the importance of having face-to-face and voice-to-voice conversations.”
Jeff Meyer, president of Meyer Foods, a franchisee of eight Culver’s restaurants in Indiana, looks for something that can be hard to find. “We believe we can teach any skills within the restaurant, but we cannot teach drive, passion, and motivation for success,” he says. “Those are key skills that we keep top of mind during our interview process. ” He also keeps a close eye on his customers. “We view everyone as a potential team member. Many of our current team members were guests in our restaurants and liked the environment so much that they inquired about job opportunities.”
Jeremiah Bowe, another Culver’s franchisee, also looks close to home. “I would say greater than 50 percent of all the people employed in our restaurants are there through word of mouth from our employees–brothers and sisters and friends,” he says. And with a workforce that’s 70 percent part-time, he works extra hard to keep those employees coming back, despite the temptation of other seasonal jobs. He offers comeback bonuses and, something quite remarkable for part-timers, paid time off and affordable health insurance.
With each successful hire, training begins–or should. “We’ve all worked in jobs where we were hired, then been thrown in to sink or swim,” says Todd Jackson, a longtime Newk’s Eatery franchisee. “A proper orientation that puts your culture at the forefront sets the standard for every new hire,” he says. “Having someone in charge of training who does not have the mindset, or who does not exhibit the restaurant’s desired culture hurts you in the long run. Commit the dollars to training. You will benefit in the end with lower turnover and lower training wages.”
Jackson is using whatever technology supports the communication of that training. “In our organization we are relying more and more on technology- and video-based training. This allows us to give consistent messages to each new hire, whether it is about culture, how to properly make a dressing, or how to set up our restaurants,” he says. “Our hourly partner demographic is shifting to a group that embraces technology. We must do the same. The key is to blend that technology with motivated and qualified trainers and with tracking that reduces the odds that someone will fall through the cracks.”
To accomplish that, Jackson and his team use HotSchedules for communication and scheduling, and Schoox for online digital training. “We’re using Schoox more and more with all of our training now being done on tablets, pads, or phones,” Jackson says. “Interactive versions of register training, line builds, and other items are made in a way that the new generation enjoys interacting with, and in a way they are familiar with. We are also able to continue culture building by using this vehicle to have employees watch videos of their peers explaining what the culture means to them and how the new hire can live our values.” Schoox also can be used to monitor whether training is taking place and to ensure new hires are being cared for properly.
At Penn Station East Coast Subs, training starts right away, with a tool called “My Penn Path,” says Don Robinson. His 18 locations make him the brand’s largest multi-unit franchisee. “We have incorporated My Penn Path into a local training program that we have had in place for many years. This has allowed us the opportunity to have a clear and precise outline of expectations for both the employee and our management team. We let them know on day one how the training process will go and exactly how they can earn raises as fast as they can master each station. Some may earn 50 cent increases as fast as two weeks and some may take six months.”
Before any employee is allowed to work a shift, they must attend an orientation from one of Penn Station’s operations directors–supervisors who oversee multiple locations. “This orientation allows us the opportunity to have a high-level supervisor be the voice of the company and outline the training process, our culture, and how the employee can move up or earn raises,” he says. “These are performed a few times every week in our regional office or at the store level on occasion. It is another huge commitment of time, but worth every minute.”
For the past 3 years, says Vaught, Penn Station’s training program has made Training magazine’s Top 125 list for organizations with the most successful learning and development programs in the world.
For his Which Wich stores, Schier has found employee development can be guided with an assessment that finds what he calls right-fit talent. “We lay out the development ladder on their first day of employment and have a philosophy of ‘Train until they can’t get it wrong.’ We help guide the employee up the ladder.” The materials are a mix of e-learning modules, books on management, on-the-job training, and interactive exercises.
Meyer likes employee training for his Culver’s employees to be available on a consistent basis. “We feel that we must continue to invest in our team members, and a large part of that is providing them with a best-in-class training team. We provide monthly workshops that allow team members from different locations to come to our central office and participate in a learning environment while sharing best practices,” he says. “We actively coach and train to emotional intelligence and leadership-style coaching.”
A few years ago, Robinson changed up his hiring process. “I decided to do a final interview for every single hourly manager before they are promoted,” he says. “With 20 locations this was a huge commitment of time, but worth every moment.” His goal then, as now, is “to show them we care about their development and their time here with the company.” It also allows him to identify future leaders he can start training to become assistant managers and eventually GMs or higher. “This also allows me to develop relationships with our newly promoted team leaders and give them a comfort level of reaching out if they feel something isn’t right within the store.”
For Keegan and his PuroClean team, one new change has had tremendous effect. “Just about a year ago we really started stressing culture, the idea that we want to be the best, pushing the culture of who we are and what we do–our mission, our values, our anchors,” he says. “When we did that, all of a sudden people’s mindsets started to change. We started holding each other accountable. When we did that, our turnover dramatically decreased–by at least half. I really think it’s about people feeling as though they belong to a team where everyone is holding everyone accountable, that they have a purpose, and that gives them some satisfaction.”
As others have learned, Meyer knows that flexible scheduling is a useful perk, but so are other incentives. “Our teams really like our ongoing monthly team contests where they can win different prizes and recognition across our group of restaurants,” he says. More than that, he adds, the monthly meetings create a platform for team members to bring up ideas for discussion on how to improve operations and the working environment. He says this gives team members an opportunity to have a larger impact on their jobs and feel a greater part of the company.
Robinson says he discovered that once a person was promoted to general manager, training and development diminished. To remedy this, he added several continuing education classes that assistant managers and GMs must attend throughout the year. He and his operations directors teach these classes, which cover hiring, interviewing, coaching, profitability, inventory, point-of-sale features, and more. “This has been a great addition for our company that I believe will be a big step in increasing profits and reducing turnover,” he says.
Schier’s tactics for Which Wich include considering some unusual approaches to retain employees. “We are looking into gig economy sites that have popped up as a way to keep a solid, well-paid core, instead of having a merry-go-round of turnover. We are also looking at supplementing when needed with people hired on gig sites–Qwick.com is an example. We are also going to start testing a pay-as-you-go option that an employee can select to get paid the next day, similar to how Uber works. If that is well-received, it’s another message we can recruit with–getting paid quickly. “
Tom Baber, an IHOP and Money Mailer franchisee, is also thinking creatively with meaningful rewards for work well done. “We keep the environment positive with small extra bonuses, for example. We recently raised all pay $1 per hour. Sales and customer satisfaction were strong so it was earned,” he says. “We have a mandated dollar increase in the minimum wage coming soon, and our goal is to be a certain amount above that to start, as we are today, and to keep that space at all levels in the organization. This will mean another pay rise coming soon, but this last one was proactive and very much appreciated. Again, it was earned. Our managers and team have done a very good job.”
He also offers other benefits, including partially paid Aflac insurance. “We also offer a telephone and online medical service for every employee and their families. It is not very pricey and does not replace health insurance, but is very handy and has been very well-received. Both of these have led to higher satisfaction and retention.”
Baber understands that kindness and respect for employees is not always about money. “Whether it be a normal greeting when we meet, a more difficult conversation like a discipline issue, or the aforementioned pay raises and other benefits, we treat it all like the employee is our customer and we will do all that we can within reason to make them feel welcomed, appreciated, valuable, and needed,” he says. “While there is no doubt we and the brand create high expectations, we also treat our employees just as we would like our customers to be treated.”
He does one more thing that he sees as a way to communicate his dedication to his employees. “I work personally at a store on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I am not part of any regular schedule at any location, but on those days I work up front and as hard as I am able. I know how rough those days are. It never goes unnoticed, plus it is a teaching opportunity for how to handle the toughest days, both from an attitude and a customer service perspective. “
At Newk’s Eatery, Jackson has figured out that retention is all about treating people right. “All of this is in the culture or environment. If an hourly partner or manager feels valued, they will stay. Everyone talks about this, and it is true. You make someone feel valued by doing the little things–saying hello, good-bye, and thank-you every shift,” he says.
“You also do this by providing an environment that is disciplined where everyone knows what is expected. Good people want to stay working with good people. If the environment starts to change because people are slacking off, the good people are the first to go.`” says Jackson. “If turnover is too high, culture is most likely to be the culprit, and it starts with the leadership.” That leadership, he says, can be the GM, the area director, or the franchisee.
Jackson agrees that employees need to know that they have longer-term career options. “It is important for people to feel like they are working toward a goal. If advancement is possible and demonstrated, they work harder. For us, the most effective tool has been promotion from within. We’ve had great success taking hourly partners from starting in a position, moving to a certified trainer, then to an hourly shift leader, and finally into management. When others see this progression is possible, it inspires them to strive for the next position as well. When everyone is trying to get to the next level, it is great for quality of operations as well as morale.”
That helps with recruitment, too, he says. “In our organization, we have approximately a 1-to-1 ratio of internal promotions to external hires–and that’s attractive to people coming from the outside.”
At Culver’s, keeping things simple is working for Bowe. “We ask people to show up when scheduled, to respect others, and to show up with a good attitude for work. If people do those three things, I tell them they can work for us forever.”
How to recruit, train, and retain talent for Supply Chain 4.
The integration of digital technologies into the supply-chain function has made it more critical than ever to recruit, train, and retain the best supply-chain talent. The challenge becomes even greater as more and more tasks are automated, requiring a shift not only in skillsets but also mind-sets. In a fast-moving and competitive talent marketplace, how can supply-chain organizations best position themselves for this next stage?
Companies are still struggling to solve this issue. With a few notable exceptions among the most visible technology leaders, supply-chain companies may not appear to be the most exciting career options at first glance. But as the adoption of digital technologies passes the tipping point to become widespread, these roles will offer opportunities for candidates to develop and hone their digital skills in a function that touches every area of an organization, from planning to distribution.
We therefore believe that an organization’s employee value proposition provides a useful starting point. By considering—and increasing if necessary—the weight placed on the supply-chain function as a critical enabler of an organization’s success, there is an opportunity to reposition the supply chain as an attractive career option for digital professionals.
Developing a talent pipeline to sustain the transformation into Supply Chain 4.0 requires the recruitment of early-career people with the right capabilities (exhibit). To ensure access to graduates with the digital and business-planning skills needed to thrive in supply-chain roles, organizations can partner with education institutions in designing tailored curricula. For example, successful graduates of a supply-chain program developed by a group of pharmaceutical companies in the same business park and a nearby technical college get preferential placement opportunities at the companies. And as these individuals progress throughout their tenure, they should be encouraged to continue their development through an independent professional body, several of which provide qualifications in a range of supply-chain disciplines.
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As well as creating a set of graduates with the skills needed to thrive in the supply-chain function, organizations should seek to capitalize on the digital talent pool already available, such as the Asia-Pacific bank that moved IT staff into new digitization roles. Their expert input can create advanced-analytics tools, apply design thinking to challenges within the discipline, create apps to be used across an organization, and design and develop algorithms that combine to create a faster, more flexible, more granular, and more efficient business function. These digital experts, and the tools and skills that they bring, help break through silos in an organization’s supply-chain, creating a connected ecosystem that allows organizations to react quickly, improving both performance and customer satisfaction.
Beyond these roles is the need to recruit—or reskill—from within an organization “digital translators,” who will monitor and interpret the masses of data produced by these digital inputs, and champion the translation of analytics insights into business actions to sustain the impact of a solution. Recruiting to this type of role from within an organization, as a large telco did for its retail operation, offers the opportunity to fill these specialist positions with people who already know and understand a business, making their translation skills more valuable than those of a pure digital expert. Conversely, making an external hire can bring in a more objective viewpoint to the table when decisions on how and where new technologies should be applied, are being taken.
Other challenges in retaining supply-chain talent echo broader employment trends in a wide range of industries and disciplines, particularly amongst professionals with a digital skill base. These specialized employees know their value and have high expectations that their career and workplace will offer the right conditions and opportunities for progression, including roles that allow for extensive pilot programs to test and learn from new technologies. Freelance, contract, and remote working prevail in many areas, and organizations must decide which professionals should be brought into an organization and which roles can be outsourced to experts.
A role within a contemporary organization’s supply-chain function is more than the logistics and warehousing management of old. In the latest iteration of Supply Chain 4.0, it offers professionals the opportunity to work with the very latest DnA technologies, in a function that is a key strategic pillar supporting an organization’s growth, touching every area from R&D and planning, through to distribution. An investment in your current talent—and careful development of the pipeline of future talent with the skills needed in Supply Chain 4.0—will create a function within your organization ready to meet rapidly evolving consumer demands.
How to Successfully Recruit, Retain, and Train Your Employees | by Terry Mansfield
Here are some effective ways to successfully recruit, retain, and train employees.
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash
As a part of your company’s recruiting and staffing process, you should continuously and proactively seek out the very best talent available who have the needed skills and experience to support your customers’ requirements. Once a new hire comes on board, ensure that he or she gets off to a great start through a comprehensive onboarding counseling process.
To speed up the process, once a new hire accepts a position, to the greatest extent possible, gather essential information on the new employee to use for creating an access badge, etc., so they are as ready to go from Day 1 of their employment. This applies to work they are going to do on a customer site as well; being very proactive is the key.
Make sure a new employee fully understands what to expect in terms of job duties and performance, as well as the customers they will be supporting and expectations. Also, inform them of the training they will receive at various stages that will help with not only their job performance but also with their career enhancement and advancement opportunities. Onboarding counseling should include other vital matters of particular interest to them, such as benefits, etc.
Traditionally your company’s human resources person is the primary point of contact (POC) for onboarding new employees into the company itself. However, for employees earmarked to work directly for a customer as support staff, the primary POC is usually your company’s contracts manager or a designated representative. This person will work closely with the customer’s contract representative on badging and integrating your contract support personnel onto the customer’s site based on access security and other relevant policies.
When you know the date that your employee starts work at a customer site, be very proactive in gathering all the required information from the employee. Especially important is to begin the process to obtain a physical access badge and apply for an identification card, if one is needed, for computer system access. Your contracts manager (or a designated representative) coordinates with the customer about the location where your contract support staff person will work, customer-provided equipment (e.g., computer, desk, etc.), and other matters.
The key to increasing the speed of badging and integration of personnel is to be very proactive on your company front-end, by having a focal point for tracking and ensuring actions get carried out through working in close coordination with the customer. These practices and processes work well for quickly and smoothly doing badging and integration of your company personnel on a customer site.
Your employees are vital in the running of your business, of course; they are the key to your success. Thus, you must strive to not only recruit the most talented and qualified employees you can find but then to do your level best to retain these excellent employees. One fundamental way to do this is by providing a stimulating workplace environment, which fosters happy, motivated, and empowered individuals, and lowers employee turnover and absentee rates. When you create and maintain a work environment that fosters personal and professional growth promotes harmony and encouragement on all levels, and thus the effects are felt company-wide.
Training is another critical component of retaining your employees. Continual training and reinforcement develop your workforce — one that is competent, consistent, competitive, effective, and efficient. Beginning on the first day of work, you must provide your new employees with the necessary information to perform their jobs successfully.
It is best if you also stress to them how important it is to satisfy your customers. Even before your new employee starts their first day on the job, during the interview and hiring process, you should give them a thorough explanation of your company. This way, they will know whether the job is their best choice and the best fit for both them and the company.
Once hired and onboard, networking and strategizing within the company provides ongoing performance management and helps your employees build relationships among co-workers. It is also important to motivate your employees to focus on customer success, profitable growth, and your company’s overall well-being.
A key, successful practice is to keep your employees informed and involved by including them in planning, policy changes, etc., as well as introducing new hires in meetings to the employees who have gone above and beyond performance-wise. This practice provides positive role models they can emulate. Early engagement and continual involvement along the way, a full “lifecycle approach,” shows your employees they are valuable through information or recognition rewards, making them feel included.
In terms of recruitment and retention, when you hire the best people, the new talent you bring on board, along with longer-tenured employees, are enabled to reach company goals, maximizing the investment of each employee. This approach also allows them to advance their own personal, professional, and career goals and objectives.
Listen to your employees. Make them feel involved. In doing so, you will create loyalty, which, in turn, will dramatically reduce turnover and enhance the retention of good employees. By doing this, you will enable further company growth as well as greater satisfaction on the part of the customers you serve because you are providing them with highly capable, stable, reliable support personnel with the requisite skills and experience to achieve success.
Robust and effective human resources-related efforts on your company’s part are essential in not only recruiting but in retaining valuable employees. As mentioned before, your company should take a “full lifecycle” approach. What this means is that from the beginning and throughout their employment, your employees know you are interested in and committed to doing whatever you can to work in partnership with them to foster and promote their continuous personal, professional, and career growth and success.
Your company’s overall Employee Training Plan must ensure that your employees receive training that is necessary to enable them to stay current with internal and external requirements on different topics (e.g., safety, job-related qualifications, and certifications, etc.). A crucial part of this training is enhancing your ability to monitor and maximize quality for your customers — something you obviously must take extremely seriously.
You should ensure quality-related efforts receive the proper senior leadership emphasis and attention throughout your company in support of your customers. Thus, someone on your executive staff with the requisite qualifications and experience should be assigned the overall responsibility of overseeing quality control and quality assurance throughout your company. This person ensures that the company’s Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plan (QA/QC Plan), a vital part of the overall Employee Training Plan, is in force and implemented effectively.
One proven way to go about this is to follow the principles of Plan, Do, Check, Act, and Improve (PDCAI), a quality management system in ISO 9001.
• Plan: Establish the objectives and processes that will allow us to deliver specific results and outputs.
• Do: Implement the process developed. Perform tasks as designed and provide training and guidance along the way.
• Check: Measure, monitor, and evaluate the process by testing it and comparing results against the planned objectives.
• Act: Analyze the differences to determine their cause. Make improvements to the process where necessary.
• Improve: Track individual processes with statistics on performance compared to stated objectives. Use this information to work with stakeholders, customers, and suppliers to improve interconnected processes and enhance overall performance.
Your company should ensure that all your employees have the necessary qualifications and receive the training required to carry out basic QA/QC Plan requirements. Employees must adhere to all processes and procedures, and all personnel should fully understand the Plan, including specified tasks, such as:
• Who is responsible for checking any work done.
• Materials and supplies used for projects meet Industry or Government specifications, standards, and criteria.
• That customer feedback is received and acted upon, as necessary, as part of a corrective action process that involves the timely investigation of customer complaints and correction of non-compliance issues, to include identification of a viable solution on how to deal with a quality problem.
Bottom line: If your company employs a viable, comprehensive QA/QC Plan, especially one based on the PDCAI principles as outlined above, your chances of having happy, satisfied customers increase significantly. And that translates into business success.
Thanks for reading. (Copyright Terry Mansfield. All rights reserved.)
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The Keys to Quality Revenue Cycle Staffing
Revenue cycle management is only as good as the people working toward it. A highly trained, diverse team is necessary to fill the roles required to maintain a healthy cash flow for an ambulatory surgery center. This includes certified coders, billers, payment posters, and collectors.
It also takes a continual investment — of time and money — to find (and keep) professionals for those positions and ensure they know how to fulfill their responsibilities. How should you recruit, train, and, as importantly, retain, qualified revenue cycle staff?
Keep reading as we break down each step.
Recruiting a qualified revenue cycle staff — one with the motivation, experience, and competences necessary to keep your business running at its best — isn’t easy. You should make sure to have detailed job descriptions, outlining the qualifications and skills you seek for each position and choose candidates to interview that meet the designated criteria.
But it’s not just about what you see on paper. When sitting down to interview candidates, you need to determine if they have the personality that fits the intended role by paying attention to the behavioral aspects of their persona. Do they have energetic optimism (perfect for a payment poster) or a take-charge, aggressive attitude (ideal for a collector)?
Also make sure you are trying to recruit people who are creative and not necessarily “task-oriented. ” Revenue cycle roles have long been considered assignment-guided positions. In truth, there are many different scenarios that can force someone to work outside of the regular processes, and they need to be able to think creatively to do so. This is especially true in ASCs where limited resources often force employees to wear many different hats. Similarly, the type of person for these roles should be motivated by a results-only work environment.
In my experience, the number one problem when it comes to training is a lack of training. Even if you find a qualified individual with the right personality who meets your standards for the role, this individual will still need to be well trained. Many facilities tend to bring new employees in, sit them at the elbow of someone else, and expect them to just watch and do. The problem is, after that we don’t even look back at their work for six months, and then wonder why they haven’t been doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
You must put an organized training program in place. It needs to be structured and required — and it needs ongoing monitoring. This all goes back to that whole process of auditing — what isn’t monitored and measured isn’t done. Train someone to do something, communicate the importance of their role, test their competency, then watch them regularly to make sure they’re doing what is required.
You can even consider external education resources to help get this accomplished. Many facilities require new employees to attain certifications (i.e. – the AAPC Medical Billing and Coding Certification) or complete certain training programs.
While revenue cycle staff are typically hourly employees, you should still offer competitive compensation to avoid high turnover, which is common in the industry. Consider incentive plans that reward strong performance to support employee satisfaction. This also provides an affirmation of good work. One of the biggest employee stressors is ambiguity, i. e., “What means I’m doing a good job versus a bad one?” Since business office roles have always been so task-oriented, workers are often judged by what work looks like instead of what work accomplishes. But the best way to retain great revenue cycle management employees is through empowerment, trust, encouraging creativity, and allowing thinking outside of the box. This creates an environment that encourages options for creativity and flexibility that makes workers want to stay.
Achieve Success Through Support
The people who manage your revenue cycle have a great deal of responsibility. After all, the financial security of your business is in their hands. Make sure throughout the recruiting, training, and retaining processes that you’re not only communicating the roles they must fill, but the importance of those roles. Then let their treatment, and your appreciation of them, reflect that value.
2018 Recruit, Train, Retain | Wise
Recruit, Train, and Retain the Best: The Implementation of a Competency-Based Clinical Research Workforce Initiative
Clinical Researcher—December 2017 (Volume 31, Issue 6)
Rebecca Namenek Brouwer, MS; Deborah Hannah, BS; Christine Deeter, BS; Betsy Hames, JM; Denise Clutter Snyder, MS, LDN, RD
Bringing scientific discoveries to bear as safely and efficiently as possible is the goal of those involved in clinical research. To accomplish this, a skilled and stable workforce is critical—this means retaining staff who understand best practices, regulations, and how best to get things done. With today’s tight labor market, however, attracting the best and brightest to the profession of clinical research may be as challenging as retaining skilled employees.
Academic medical centers (AMCs) may experience particular challenges in recruiting high-quality staff, given the general decline of clinical research activities in this venue.1 Therefore, it’s important to create a clinical research workforce system within AMCs that appeals to potential job candidates as well as valuable incumbents, and that serves an ever-changing industry by emphasizing and rewarding development of specific competencies.
This paper describes an initiative that created a competency-based staffing structure at an AMC to provide, or at least encourage, the following:
- Standardized research roles
- A consistent approach to hiring and evaluating employees
- Advancement opportunities that rely on demonstrated competencies
- A transparent pathway for career growth and skill development
This workforce initiative was funded in part by an institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (UL1TR001117) to Duke University Medical Center. As such, it is the authors’ desire to share their experiences with others who may benefit from the work.
Most adults need to work to earn a living; however, each individual has his or her own reasons for being attracted to, and remaining at, a particular job. This likely comes down to what motivates them, and many theories provide explanations for how this affects employee behavior.2
Champagne and McAfee3 offered an employee motivational theory that listed five important aspects of satisfying employee needs: physiological, security (economic, psychological, etc.), affiliation (encouraging social interaction), esteem (job challenge), and self-actualization. These needs are based on the well-known hierarchy of needs, articulated by Abraham Maslow. 4
Meanwhile, the equity theory of motivation, determined by John Stacey Adams,5 invites additional factors that motivate employees. Here, staff motivation is dictated by whether they think what they are putting into a job relates to what they get out of it. Similarly, it is important that what a staff member gets out of the job is the same as his or her colleague—fair, consistent treatment is key to the equity theory.
To build and maintain a clinical research workforce within an AMC setting, Duke employed strategies to affect motivation at several levels. In this article, the authors explain the various components of the workforce initiative, which aimed to recruit, train, and retain valuable staff and bolster professionalism in clinical research support.
Setting Up a Successful System
Since July 2014, Duke has been working on professionalizing its clinical research workforce via a comprehensive initiative that involves many elements (see Figure 1 for a timeline of related activities).6,7 At its core, the initiative utilizes core competencies, developed by the Joint Task Force for Clinical Trials Competency (JTFCTC).8 The eight competency domains are: (1) Scientific Concepts and Research Design, (2) Ethical and Participant Safety Considerations, (3) Medicines Development and Regulation, (4) Clinical Trial Operations (GCPs), (5) Study and Site Management, (6) Data Management and Informatics, (7) Leadership and Professionalism, and (8) Communication and Teamwork. The work was undertaken by the Clinical Research Professionals Working Group (CRPWG), comprised of staff from Duke’s School of Medicine, the Duke Office of Clinical Research,9 and the university’s Human Resources and Rewards and Recognition units.
Importantly, this initiative was heavily supported by leadership within the School of Medicine and the Human Resources unit, and it has had implications throughout the institution.
Standardizing Research Roles
The standardizing of research roles was made possible by the development of competency-based job descriptions and incumbent alignment with those job descriptions. The number of job classifications held by clinical research staff at Duke had become difficult to manage and impossible to track. In order to create consistency and standardization across the institution, the CRPWG aimed to consolidate and simplify the number of clinical research job classifications. As result of this project, the number of classifications was reduced from approximately 80 to 12.6
A tool was created to assess the current job duties and competencies of clinical research staff at Duke. The competencies were founded in the work done by the aforementioned JTFCTC, and were tracked in alignment with an initiative undertaken by the 61 institutions participating in the NIH CTSA program at the time.
Each staff member was asked to complete a survey tool, designed for collection in REDCap™ (Research Electronic Data Capture; https://www.project-redcap.org),10 based on the job duties and level of identified competencies. The staff member’s manager reviewed the tool, then validated and altered as needed the responses based upon his or her assessment of the employee’s job duties and level of competency.
The answers provided by the staff member and manager were assessed by committee, in conjunction with review of the staff member’s CV and job description. The job classification that was deemed the “best fit” was provided to the leadership of the staff member’s research unit to ensure there were no major concerns regarding the position identified. More than 700 research professionals were mapped into these new classifications in two distinct waves.
Consistent Hiring Practices
The competencies that were utilized to map each of the incumbents into their new job classifications were modified for use in a REDCap™ tool for new hires. The survey requires hiring managers to answer a series of questions based on the competencies needed to meet the requirements of the open position. Outcomes of the survey are then analyzed by a group of subject matter experts to provide the job classification that most closely aligns with the position being discussed.
Once the best fit has been identified, the results are recorded in a database and a position-specific job description is sent to the hiring manager. Communication and collaboration with the Human Resources unit ensures all positions that may fit into one of the 12 clinical research job classifications are routed through the survey tool. By utilizing this systematic method, the time to classify and post a position has been reduced significantly.
More than 40 competencies for staff in these tiered positions were leveled into four categories—”fundamental,” “skilled,” “advanced,” and “expert.” Multimodal, standardized assessments were developed for each competency, to determine the candidate’s level of skill/knowledge. Core, required competencies were identified for each role. Points were assigned for each level, and the accumulated point total determines advancement to the next tier. (It is important to note that competencies in the domain of Leadership and Professionalism play a key role.)
Through the tier advancement process, staff are able to clearly see opportunities for growth and development. This relies on the staff being able to exhibit competency in the skills required to perform their job. Staff are evaluated on these competencies by completing the previously mentioned assessments.
While an employee and his or her manager can select from several competencies, the Leadership and Professionalism competencies are required in order to progress. This fosters a sense of collaboration, professional growth, and innovation throughout the clinical research community.
The tools developed for the tier advancement process can be modified and used for training and onboarding purposes. The utilization of these tools for new hires creates consistency and efficiency across a variety of therapeutic areas of research and enhances a culture of professionalism.
While Duke has done much to professionalize its workforce, additional initiatives are in the planning stages, which will allow the institution to continue to build upon the competency model created. An example of this is that each employee who completes a competency assessment will have access to an individualized profile that reflects areas of strength within each domain. This can serve as part of an employee’s portfolio, and can be shared within the institution, as the assessments are consistent across units.
Portfolios may provide other AMCs information about research capability for staff who need to relocate and wish to continue their work at the same level. In addition, the hope is to take the competencies for each job classification and weave them into Duke’s clinical research training program and performance management system. By continuing to harmonize the expectations of managers across units, the institution aims to ensure consistent professional standards.
This project was a significant undertaking, with regard to both time and money. Numerous staff and stakeholders were involved across the institution over several years. A core group of individuals were paid for the effort they devoted to operationally administer this initiative, but countless others volunteered their time to make it possible.
Many champions across the institution socialized the idea that the provision of career development opportunities to research professionals aims to positively affect not only individual staff, but also the institution and clinical research at large. There was some resistance to change, and concern about the financial impact shouldered by individual departments and research investigators. However, the strong commitment from the School of Medicine, Duke University Human Resources, and the research community in general made this project possible.
Stakeholder engagement in a project of this magnitude is absolutely necessary for success. The faculty were involved through their participation in an assembled Faculty Advisory Committee representing a number of clinical department disciplines, and are actively conducting their own research supported by diverse clinical research professional support teams. Their input and willingness to involve their staff in the “pilot” phase was critical.
The managers of the staff involved were also deeply engaged in this process. Manager involvement was important because managers recognized the work being done by staff, understood the expectations of each job classification, and were familiar with the specific competencies involved in each job classification. They were also called on as subject matter experts throughout the process. There were several training opportunities for these managers as the project moved along, which was key to its success and to staff understanding of the advancement opportunities.
The job classifications that were developed for clinical research staff rely on the idea of competencies being “building blocks.” The staff at a higher tier are expected to have attained their current tier’s expectations as well as the competencies of those at a lower tier. As an example of this for data entry and collection, a “fundamental” employee would be able to collect data according to a predefined plan; an “advanced” employee would not only be able to collect data according to a predefined plan, but is likely to be leading the development of standard operating procedures utilized to collect data.
The tier advancement process is point-based, and is consistent across all tiered job classifications. The institution requires the employee to meet a standardized threshold at each tier; “fundamental” requiring at least nine points, “skilled” requiring at least 36 points, and “advanced” requiring at least 84 points. Employees can achieve this threshold in many different ways. This allows for growth in areas that will fit staff who have specialties and those who may be a “jack of all trades.” Utilizing the same threshold for all clinical research staff ensures consistency and fairness.
Referring back to Adams’s equity theory of motivation, the tier advancement process provides staff with direct means to see what they are getting out of the job equals what they put in. It also creates a sense of consistency that what they are putting into their job and what they get out is equivalent to that of their peers.
The competency-based tier advancement workforce initiative also meets many of Champagne and McAfee’s aspects of employee needs. It addresses “security,” both in the psychological and economic sense, by providing clear job descriptions and by employing a regular market analysis to ensure fair wages. It speaks to “affiliation” by promoting leadership; in order to advance in tiers, candidates must meet the leadership competencies appropriate for the tier toward which they are working. Leadership and professionalism inherently encourages participation in things outside “the job” that will further the clinical research community. “Esteem” and “self-actualization” are met through the development of challenging job advancement criteria with a definite outcome of achieving the next tier.
Duke will continue to focus on advancing its clinical research workforce. The framework described here is expected to be woven into the institution’s performance review process in the coming years, with the possibility that competency-based assessments will be applied to senior and management positions. By tying these expectations to existing performance and merit review processes, Duke will enhance an already established workflow rather than “reinvent the wheel.”
Shifting the research culture takes time. Standardizing job classifications and introducing new processes for advancement can be of great benefit to staff involved in clinical research.
The role of the clinical research professional needs to be valued, and should be more widely recognized as requiring high-level skills. Advancing the language and expectations in clinical research job classifications allows for a standardized pathway for building a career in an AMC. However, it does not guarantee this by way of tenure, but rather through demonstration of competencies.
By shifting the workforce’s expectations at Duke to competency-based advancement, the institution expects to have less attrition and more job satisfaction among staff choosing to work in clinical research. The tier advancement model has multiple advantages that are anticipated to result in a cultural shift that focuses on advancing clinical research and that leads to improved patient care and health outcomes.
- Meador KJ. 2015. Decline of clinical research in academic medical centers. Neurology 85(13):1171–6.
- Ramlall S. 2004. A review of employee motivation theories and their implications for employee retention within organizations. J Am Acad Bus 5(no.1/2):52–63.
- Champagne PJ, McAfee RB. 1989. Motivating Strategies for Performance and Productivity: A Guide to Human Resource Development. Quorum Books.
- Maslow AH. 1943. A theory of human motivation. Psych Rev 50(4):370.
- Adams JS. 1963. Towards an understanding of inequity. J Abnormal Soc Psych 67(5):422–36. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1964-04111-001
- Brouwer RN, Deeter C, Hannah D, Ainsworth T, Mullen C, Hames B, Gaudaur H, McKellar T, Snyder D. 2017. Using competencies to transform clinical research job classifications. J Res Admin. In press.
- Causey M. 2017. Professional pathways boost staff retention in clinical research settings. ACRP Blog. www.acrpnet.org/2017/04/24/professional-pathways-boost-staff-retention-clinical-research-settings/
- Sonstein SA, et al. 2014. Moving from compliance to competency: a harmonized core competency framework for the clinical research professional. Clin Res 28(3:17–23. www.coapcr.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Clinical-Research-Competencies.pdf
- Snyder DC, et al. 2016. Retooling institutional support infrastructure for clinical research. Contemp Clin Trials 48:139–45.
- Harris PA, Taylor R, Thielke R, Payne J, Gonzalez N, Conde JG. 2009. Research electronic data capture (REDCap)—a metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support. J Biomed Informatics 42(2):377–81.
Rebecca Namenek Brouwer, MS, ([email protected]) is director of research initiatives at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
Deborah Hannah, BS, ([email protected]du) is research practice manager at Duke University Medical Center.
Christine Deeter, BS, ([email protected]) is operations coordinator at Duke University School of Medicine.
Betsy Hames, JM, ([email protected]) is senior human resources executive at Duke University School of Medicine.
Denise Clutter Snyder, MS, LDN, RD, ([email protected]) is associate dean for clinical research at Duke University School of Medicine.
3 Key Strategies to Recruit and Retain Your Best Employees
Your ideas and vision will drive your company from its infancy, but it’s your employees who will have the most impact on the long-term performance of your business, especially as you move into a growth period.
In fact, our business has thrived because we’ve been able to recruit and retain talent who quickly adopt leadership roles. With their help, we’ve seen our sales multiply year-over-year. By developing a company culture our employees enjoy, empowering them to accomplish more at their jobs and incorporating social good into our business processes, we’ve established a brand our team members are proud to work for.
Below are three strategies you can use to make your company a place your top performers will never want to leave.
Build a dynamic company culture.
Strong company cultures that attract passionate and talented employees don’t arise out of thin air. They have to be strategically created, built from the top down and nurtured over time. Otherwise, your organization’s culture will be a disorganized combination of competing ideas with no guiding philosophy behind them. When you know in detail what your company culture is, then you can hire people who will be a good fit for it. This is vital since studies show culture fit is a crucial component of employee retention.
When you focus on building a value-added culture from the very beginning of the organization’s existence, then the benefits of that culture make waves throughout the entire business. This includes being better positioned to retain high-impact employees for years to come.
Set clear expectations and empower employees to exceed them.
The first big responsibility you have to your employees is to establish ambitious, yet feasible expectations for them. Hardworking, talented employees want to work with their colleagues to achieve great things, but they’re also wary of any company that doesn’t have defined milestones. If, in an interview, and entrepreneur claims, “We’re in a rapid growth phase, and things are changing too fast to have specific goals for your position,” the applicant interprets this as, “I have no idea what they’ll hold me accountable for.”
Once you let your employees know exactly what will be expected of them, your second major task is to empower them to achieve those goals. Give them the tools they need to thrive in their role, whether it is technology, training or intra-office communication.
Highlight your company’s social impact.
The impactful workers of today are looking for much more than just a paycheck when they agree to take a job. They want to work for an organization that has defined values and routinely makes a difference in society. In fact, 58 percent of millennials say they would take a lower salary in order to work for a company that has similar values to their own, according to Net Impact’s 2012 Talent Report in partnership with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.
These days, many companies still rely on a business model in which they produce quick, disposable products that are convenient for customers but are bad for the environment. I believe product-based brands have a responsibility to consumers, their staff and the world to reduce the waste they create. In the UK, low-quality and older mattresses are overwhelming recycling centers, according to reports by the British newspaper The Sun. Many are likely to be burnt or dumped in a landfill.
At Amerisleep, we view this as a problem created mainly by opportunistic manufacturers who produce cheap and replaceable products that aren’t made-to-last. That’s why we build our beds to last decades and take an eco-friendly approach to making our mattresses with plant-based materials, a zero-emissions manufacturing process and optimized shipping methods to minimize our carbon footprint. Businesses like ours increase their likelihood of retaining top talent when they support social causes their team members care about.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
90,000 Magnetic Levitation Trains – Transport That Can Change the World
Maglev trains are the fastest form of ground public transport. And although only three small tracks have been put into operation so far, research and testing of prototypes of magnetic trains are taking place in different countries. How the technology of magnetic levitation has developed and what awaits it in the near future, you will learn from this article.
The first pages of Maglev history were filled with a series of patents obtained in the early 20th century in different countries. Back in 1902, the German inventor Alfred Seiden was awarded a patent for the design of a train equipped with a linear engine. And four years later, Franklin Scott Smith developed another early prototype of an electromagnetically suspended train. A little later, in the period from 1937 to 1941, several more patents related to trains equipped with linear electric motors were received by the German engineer Hermann Kemper. By the way, the rolling stock of the Moscow monorail transport system, built in 2004., use asynchronous linear motors for movement – this is the world’s first monorail with a linear motor.
Train of the Moscow monorail system near Telecentr
station In the late 1940s, researchers moved from word to deed. British engineer Eric Layswaite, who many call “the father of the Maglev”, managed to develop the first working full-size prototype of a linear induction motor. Later, in the 1960s, he joined the development of the Tracked Hovercraft high speed train.Unfortunately, in 1973 the project was closed due to lack of funds.
RTV 31 linear engine prototype (Tracked Hovercraft project)
In 1979, the world’s first magnetic levitation train prototype licensed to provide passenger transport services, the Transrapid 05, appeared. A 908 m long test track was built in Hamburg and presented during exhibition IVA 79. The interest in the project was so great that Transrapid 05 managed to work successfully for another three months after the end of the exhibition and transport a total of about 50 thousand items.passengers. The maximum speed of this train was 75 km / h.
Transrapid 05 system at IVA 79
And the first commercial magnetoplane appeared in 1984 in Birmingham, England. A magnetic suspension rail line connected the terminal of Birmingham International Airport to the nearby train station. She successfully worked from 1984 to 1995. The length of the line was only 600 m, and the height to which the train with a linear induction motor rose above the road bed was 15 millimeters. In 2003, the AirRail Link passenger transportation system based on Cable Liner technology was built in its place.
In the 1980s, the development and implementation of projects for the creation of high-speed magnetic levitation trains began not only in England and Germany, but also in Japan, Korea, China and the United States.
How it works
We know about the basic properties of magnets from the physics lessons for the 6th grade. If you bring the north pole of a permanent magnet to the north pole of another magnet, they will repel.If one of the magnets is turned over, connecting different poles, it is attracted. This is a simple principle found in maglev trains, which slide through the air over a rail for a short distance.
The magnetic suspension technology is based on three main subsystems: levitation, stabilization and acceleration. At the same time, at the moment there are two main technologies of magnetic suspension and one experimental, proven only on paper.
Electromagnetic Suspension Technology (EMS) trains use an electromagnetic field to levitate, the strength of which varies over time.At the same time, the practical implementation of this system is very similar to the operation of conventional railway transport. Here, a T-shaped rail track is used, made of a conductor (mainly metal), but the train, instead of wheelsets, uses a system of electromagnets – support and guides. The support and guide magnets are parallel to the ferromagnetic stators located at the edges of the T-track. The main disadvantage of EMS technology is the distance between the reference magnet and the stator, which is 15 millimeters and must be monitored and adjusted by special automated systems depending on many factors, including the inconsistent nature of the electromagnetic interaction.By the way, the levitation system works thanks to batteries installed on board the train, which are recharged by linear generators built into the reference magnets. Thus, in the event of a stop, the train will be able to levitate long enough on batteries. Transrapid trains and, in particular, the Shanghai Maglev were built on the basis of EMS technology.
Trains based on EMS technology are propelled and braked by a low-acceleration synchronous linear motor represented by support magnets and a belt over which the magnetoplane hovers.By and large, the motor system built into the web is a conventional stator (the stationary part of a linear electric motor) deployed along the bottom of the web, and the supporting electromagnets, in turn, act as an anchor for the electric motor. Thus, instead of generating torque, the alternating current in the coils generates a magnetic field of excited waves, which moves the composition contactlessly. Changing the strength and frequency of the alternating current allows you to adjust the traction and speed of the train.In this case, to slow down, you just need to change the direction of the magnetic field.
In the case of electrodynamic suspension technology (EDS), levitation is carried out by the interaction of the magnetic field in the canvas and the field created by superconducting magnets on board the train. Japanese trains JR – Maglev were built on the basis of EDS technology. Unlike EMS technology, which uses conventional electromagnets and coils only conduct electricity when power is applied, superconducting electromagnets can conduct electricity even after the power source has been disconnected, such as in the event of a power outage.Cooling the coils in the EDS system can save a lot of energy. However, the cryogenic cooling system used to keep the coils cooler can be expensive.
The main advantage of the EDS system is its high stability – with a slight reduction in the distance between the curtain and the magnets, a repulsive force arises, which returns the magnets to their original position, at the same time, an increase in the distance reduces the repulsive force and increases the force of attraction, which again leads to the stabilization of the system. In this case, no electronics are required to control and adjust the distance between the train and the track.
True, there were also some drawbacks here – the force sufficient for levitation of the train arises only at high speeds. For this reason, an EDS train must be equipped with wheels that can move at low speeds (up to 100 km / h). Corresponding changes should also be made along the entire length of the track, since the train can stop at any place due to technical malfunctions.
Another disadvantage of the EDS is that at low speeds, a frictional force is generated in the web at the front and rear of the repulsive magnets, which acts against them. This is one of the reasons why JR-Maglev abandoned the completely repulsive system and looked towards the lateral levitation system.
It should also be noted that strong magnetic fields in the passenger compartment necessitate the installation of magnetic shields. Without shielding, travel in such a carriage for passengers with a pacemaker or magnetic storage media (HDD and credit cards) is contraindicated.
The acceleration subsystem in EDS-based trains works in the same way as in EMS-based trains, except that after a polarity reversal, the stators stop here momentarily.
The third, closest to implementation technology that exists so far only on paper is the EDS variant with Inductrack permanent magnets, which do not require energy to activate. Until recently, researchers believed that permanent magnets were not strong enough to levitate a train.However, this problem was solved by placing magnets in the so-called “Halbach array”. In this case, the magnets are located in such a way that the magnetic field appears above the array, and not under it, and are able to maintain the levitation of the train at very low speeds – about 5 km / h. True, the cost of such arrays of permanent magnets is very high, therefore, so far there is not a single commercial project of this kind.
Guinness Book of Records
At the moment, the first line in the list of the fastest magnetic levitation trains is occupied by the Japanese solution JR-Maglev MLX01, which on December 2, 2003, on the test track in Yamanashi, managed to develop a record speed of 581 km / h.It is worth noting that the JR-Maglev MLX01 holds several more records set in the period from 1997 to 1999 – 531, 550, 552 km / h.
If you look at the closest competitors, then among them it is worth noting the Shanghai Maglev Transrapid SMT, built in Germany, which managed to reach a speed of 501 km / h during tests in 2003 and its progenitor – Transrapid 07, which surpassed the 436 km / h line. in 1988.
The Linimo magnetic levitation train, which began operation in March 2005, was developed by Chubu HSST and is still in use in Japan.It runs between the two cities in Aichi Prefecture. The length of the track over which the maglev hovers is about 9 km (9 stations). At the same time, the maximum speed of the Linimo is 100 km / h. This did not prevent him from transporting more than 10 million passengers only during the first three months from the moment of launch.
The more famous is the Shanghai Maglev, created by the German company Transrapid and commissioned on January 1, 2004. This magnetic suspension rail line connects Shanghai Longyang Lu Station to Pudong International Airport.The total distance is 30 km, the train covers it in about 7.5 minutes, accelerating to a speed of 431 km / h.
Another magnetic suspension rail line is successfully operating in Daejeon, South Korea. UTM-02 became available to passengers on April 21, 2008, and it took 14 years to develop and create it. A magnetic suspension railway line connects the National Science Museum and the Exhibition Park, which are only 1 km apart.
Maglev L0 in Japan is among the magnetic levitation trains, which will be in operation in the near future, it was recently resumed trials. It is expected to operate on the Tokyo-Nagoya route by 2027.
Very expensive toy
Not so long ago, popular magazines called magnetic levitation trains a revolutionary transport, and both private companies and authorities from different countries of the world reported about the launch of new projects of such systems with enviable regularity. However, most of these ambitious projects were closed at the initial stages, and some railway lines on a magnetic suspension, although they managed to serve for the benefit of the population for a short time, were later dismantled.
The main reason for the failure is that magnetically levitated trains are extremely expensive. They require an infrastructure specially built for them from scratch, which, as a rule, is the most expensive item in the project budget. For example, the Shanghai maglev cost China $ 1.3 billion or $ 43.6 million for 1 km of two-way track (including the cost of building trains and building stations). Magnetic levitation trains can only compete with airlines on longer routes. But again, there are not enough places in the world with a large passenger traffic necessary for a railway line on a magnetic suspension to pay off.
At the moment, the future of maglev trains looks vague to a greater extent due to the prohibitive high cost of such projects and a long payback period. At the same time, many countries continue to invest heavily in high-speed rail (HSR) projects. Recently, Japan has resumed high-speed testing of the Maglev L0 magnetic levitation train, which will enter service by 2027.
The Japanese government also hopes to interest the US in its own magnetic levitation trains. Recently, representatives of The Northeast Maglev, which are planning to connect Washington and New York with a maglev rail line, paid an official visit to Japan. It is possible that magnetically levitated trains will become more widespread in countries with a less efficient HSR network. For example, in the United States and Great Britain, but their cost will still remain high.
There is another scenario for the development of events. As you know, one of the ways to increase the efficiency of magnetic levitation trains is the use of superconductors, which, when cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero, completely lose their electrical resistance. However, keeping huge magnets in tanks of extremely cold liquids is very expensive, as huge “refrigerators” are needed to maintain the desired temperature, which further increases the cost.
But no one excludes the possibility that in the near future the luminaries of physics will be able to create an inexpensive substance that retains superconducting properties even at room temperature.When superconductivity is achieved at high temperatures, powerful magnetic fields capable of supporting cars and trains will become so accessible that even “flying cars” will be economically viable. So we are waiting for news from the laboratories.
Set 4M 00-03379 Magnetic Lead Train
Magnetic Lead Train Set Description:
Incredible and fast magnetoplane! Build it yourself from the 4M kit. The magnetic levitation train will float softly over the tracks thanks to the energy of the magnetic field!
The length of the finished model is 43 cm.
Track supports (2 pcs.)
Long magnetic tapes (4 pcs.)
Short magnetic tapes (2 pcs.)
Track ends with springs (2 pcs.)
Stickers (2 pcs.)
How does it work?
Levitation is a process by which an object hangs in the air. Magnetic levitation trains are called “maglev”, which translates as “magnetic levitation”.The maglev train floats in the air thanks to the power of magnetism. Any magnet has two poles, they are called north and south. The poles of magnets interact with each other: different poles attract, and the same ones repel.
Your model train uses magnetic strips. Their north pole is on one side and their south pole is on the other. The magnets on the train and on the track are positioned so that the same poles face each other and repel. This is how the train is held in the air above the tight track.
Did you know that
Maglev trains do not make any noise because they are not touching the track.
Maglev trains do not generate any dangerous gases as they run on electricity.
There is no friction between the track and the train, so maglev trains are very efficient.
On a real magnetic track, magnets also hold the train in the air and push it along the track.
The world’s first passenger magnetoplane appeared in 2004.It ran between downtown Shanghai and the airport at a speed of 430 km / h.
Child’s age from: 8 years
Material: plastic, magnet 90 100
Weight: 0.4583 kg
Width: 24.0000 cm
Height: 22.0000 cm
Depth: 6.5000 cm
Country of origin: China
Brand Country: Xianggang (Hong Kong)
Packing: Cardboard box
Certificate: Certificate for serial production of AM 012 / S.A-0069-2019 dated 26.02.2019
90,000 Trains to Feodosia and Evpatoria will be launched in Crimea – Business – Kommersant
The operator of railway communication with Crimea “Grand Service Express” (GSE), which has already sold about 20 thousand tickets to Crimea on two routes from Moscow and St. Petersburg, is going to expand the route network for the holiday season. They are discussing both a direct train from Moscow to Sevastopol, and the launch of new routes from Murmansk, Yekaterinburg and Kislovodsk, as well as the organization of traffic to Evpatoria and Feodosia. The GSE estimates the total demand for rail transportation to Crimea for 2020 at 1.8 million passengers.
“Grand Service Express”, the operator of passenger rail links with Crimea, is preparing to launch several new directions for the opening of the holiday season. The CEO of the company Alexander Ganov told about it.
On November 8, the GSE began selling tickets to Crimea and sold more than 3 thousand tickets on the first day of sales (see Kommersant on November 9). “To be honest, no one expected such an intensive ticket purchase,” said Mr. Ganov.- At the moment, almost 20 thousand tickets have already been sold, taking into account the fact that the depth of sales is limited to the first decade of January. The demand is huge. ”
So far, tickets are being sold for two routes: St. Petersburg-Sevastopol (named trains “Tavria”) and Moscow-Simferopol.
“We have launched two routes, but this is only the beginning of the journey. We are now considering various options for expanding the route network, – says Alexander Ganov. – The task is to add new routes to the holiday season and ensure the availability of rail links for passengers from other regions of our country, not only from Moscow and St. Petersburg. “
Among the considered is the “southern” route, which will connect Kislovodsk, Krasnodar and Crimea, said the top manager. “There will be a route starting in Yekaterinburg. There is an idea to start from Murmansk and add several routes from Moscow and St. Petersburg to other cities of the peninsula: there is a task to connect Evpatoria and Feodosia, “added Mr. Ganov.
Now more than 70% of passengers on the St. Petersburg-Sevastopol train travel from the terminal station to the terminal, but at the same time, options are being worked out to provide passengers with a stopover at large intermediate stations.Also in the plans, “and in the closest” – the launch of a direct train Moscow-Sevastopol. Mr. Ganov did not specify the need for additional rolling stock, but did not rule out purchasing it in the future, as well as renting or leasing. Now all 166 cars, which are operated by the GSE on the Crimean routes, belong to the FSUE Crimean Railway (KZD).
The top manager estimated the demand for rail transportation to Crimea in 2020 at 1.8 million passengers.
The planned average annual load will be 60-65%, but the company can manage the load by adding or uncoupling wagons, explained Mr. Ganov.
GSE can apply for state support for ticket sales for reserved seats at regulated tariffs, as is done by the Federal Passenger Company (FPK) controlled by Russian Railways. “There is a legal framework, why not use this opportunity?” – explained Mr. Ganov, but did not specify the amount of support needed. At the same time, he characterized transportation to Crimea as profitable and said that there would be no cross-subsidization between the cost-effective Moscow-St. Petersburg route, where the GSE operates, and the Crimean directions.Mr. Ganov explained the relatively low ticket price by the need to keep the tariff below the level of the ticket price, given that air travel to Crimea is also subsidized. According to him, a well-to-do passenger will be guided by the plane, for him the travel time is more important than the ticket price, and if we talk about a long-distance train, where reserved seats prevail, the price should be the determining factor.
The GSE does not expect sanction risks in connection with the opening of transportation to Crimea: the company works only within the country, the top manager explained.
The GSE has its own personnel, including the company now recruiting and training Crimeans, said Mr. Ganov. The Tavria train will have a corporate identity, an infotainment system for passengers (films, books) will appear. The menu is currently being developed. Catering, says Mr. Ganov, can be partly provided by the GSE’s own kitchen, which the company considers a competitive advantage. The GSE clarified that cats can be transported to Crimea by rail without weight restrictions.
90,000 What keeps the train on the tracks
Once in Spain I was traveling from Madrid to Barcelona on a bullet train traveling at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour. I thought about the question, and how interesting a train at such a speed can go so quietly. I was interested not so much in the question that the wheels do not knock – this is explained by the seamless welding of the tracks, but how it turns out that the wheels do not squeak at such a speed. I began to think about the question, but how does the train generally go and does not go off the rails.99% of people, including myself, at first believe that the train is held on the rails by special protrusions on the wheels, which do not allow the train to fly off the rails. However, I thought, if the surface of the wheel itself rolls on the rail and there are no questions here, then the protrusions are on the sides of the rails, and when the train wants to jump off the rail, this protrusion rubs against the rail, resting on it, and then, logically, there should be a wild squeak, moreover, how a sheaf of sparks should come from the grinder. If these protrusions were constantly rubbed, then the train would have to go louder than a rocket and how to burn like a torch with sheaves of sparks from under the wheels at such a speed.On the other hand, the train cannot roll perfectly smoothly, even the slightest breath of wind would throw it with a ledge on the rail and give rise to the effect described above. But this is not all. So that’s not the point. The answer lies in the train wheel itself. As usual, everything is even easier than it seems. The wheels of the train are tapered if you look closely at them. That is, the train stands on the rails not with its wheels flat, but rather with thicker cone bases towards the center and thinner outwards. Thus, the force of gravity pulls the train down and at the same time pulls it, as it were, inside the track and down – this force actually keeps the train on the rails. And the protrusions on the wheels are only for safety, when during the turns the train tilts strongly and the force of the cones is not enough, then it rests against the rail with a protrusion, just then we hear the squeak of this friction. Therefore, it usually occurs precisely when the train turns.
Recently I watched a video of a famous physicist, just on this topic. He further expanded my understanding of this process. Unlike the wheels of a car, the axles of which are not solid, but are cut into two parts and a differential is installed between them, the axles of the train are solid.In fact, what we are talking about here is the question of how they turn. If you look at the trajectory of the turn, you can always see that the inner wheels make less revolutions – since the length of the inner track is less than the outer one, and the outer wheels make more revolutions – driving a long distance – due to the differential, this is possible. If the axle was solid, the wheels could only rotate together, and since each has its own axle shaft, the machine can turn. But what about the train, its wheels are on a solid axle, but at the same time there is the same law – the outer track is longer than the inner one.How can the outer wheels make more revolutions than the inner ones? Here our cones help us – the train simply tilts in a turn and when tilted, the outer wheels from the centrifugal force carry out the turn and the wheel moves to a thicker section of the cone, and the inner wheel, on the contrary, slides off the rails more inward to a thinner section of the cone and it turns out that the outer the wheel becomes larger in diameter and can travel a greater distance with the same number of revolutions, and the inner wheel, on the contrary, with the same number of revolutions, travel a shorter distance.So the train turns.
Yours Alexey Golenko
Lego Duplo My first train 10507 – “Great quality railroad. But does the child like everything about her? And whether it is necessary to supplement it with a set of rails.
The Lego Duplo railway was a welcome and long-awaited gift for his son for the New Year. For a whole month he repeated that Santa Claus would bring him a train, and, of course, he found a huge box under the tree. But did the son really need this toy so badly?
At the time of the purchase of the railway, we already had 4 Lego Duplo sets, with which my son played with pleasure.I had no doubts – the railway will also be Lego. Having received an order from an online store, I could not resist and, while my son was sleeping, unpacked the box and examined everything.
The box turned out to be large, 53×27 cm, but light, and the rails moved freely and rattled inside. I even had a suspicion that something had not been reported there, but all the details, of course, were in place.
This is what I saw inside: details of a train and a carriage, rounded rails, figures of a driver, a girl and a goat, a suitcase, a clock, a flower, building blocks and a number of other interesting details.
The steam locomotive is the most important part of the set!
First, it moves on its own, you only need to press the big green button on the roof. To stop the train, you need to press the green button again. If this is not done, the train will stop by itself in 2 minutes.
No batteries included, the locomotive needs 3 AA batteries. I liked that the cover of the battery compartment is securely fixed by 2 screws.
By the way, the train goes not only on the rails.It moves perfectly both on a smooth floor and on a sofa. The train travels pretty fast. We also have the Chukh-Chukh locomotive. Sonny now arranges steam locomotive races around the apartment. And the Lego train is always ahead.
Secondly, the train makes various sounds when it starts to move, during movement and during braking (the locomotive hums, there is a knock of wheels and a characteristic sound when braking).
But the most interesting thing is that the locomotive can be “filled” with water, for this you need to press the tip of the yellow hose on the small black button on the roof of the locomotive.There will be a gurgle of water flowing down the bar. The child really likes it, and he refueled the locomotive over and over again.
And also a locomotive and carriages are assembled from several parts. And if there are few assembly options for a locomotive, you can only additionally attach something to the roof, then the car can be assembled in different ways.
Sometimes we use parts from other Lego sets to transform a passenger train into a freight train.Or we assemble our own version of the car from the available parts. Or you can build a double-deck car.
Trailers from cars from other Duplo sets can be attached to the train. The distance between the wheels allows them to go on the rails, only arrows from the add. they will not pass recruitment.
The driver fits perfectly into the locomotive’s cabin. There is one passenger in each standard compartment of the carriage.
A set of 12 rounded rails, from which a circle with a diameter of 58 cm is obtained.Not enough. The train completes this circle in 7 seconds.
Therefore, I immediately lengthened our railway with a set of additional rails 10506, which includes straight and rounded rails, a crossing and two arrows. With such a railway, the game promised to be much more interesting.
The rails are easily connected to each other and do not fall apart during the game, the assembled road can be moved.
From the existing building parts, you can build a railway ticket office building or a small house.There is a block with an opening window, a canopy, roof details.
There are also obligatory attributes of the railway station in the set: a semaphore and a clock.
Well, what kind of train ride is without luggage. My son really liked the suitcase, because it opens up, and you can put something in it. We have these beans, which the son feeds his little men. The closed suitcase is fixed in the hand of the figure.
In a set of three figures: a train driver, a girl and a goat.Why goat in the set remained a mystery to me. The son does not play with the goat at all. The train driver is a completely different matter, this figure has become one of the most beloved.
The driver and the girl have their hands moving, their heads spinning, they can be put or put on blocks. The goat has no moving parts, but there is a mount on the back, you can put someone on it. The driver’s height is 6.5 cm, girls – 5 cm.
All parts of the set are of excellent quality, the plastic is strong and smooth, the parts are joined together without effort and hold tightly.
The set is large enough, but still there are not enough parts for all the necessary buildings. The construction of the platform is not provided for by the kit, so we assemble it from parts of other kits. After all, all Lego Duplo sets are compatible with each other. And the more they are available, the wider the field of creativity for the child.
I really liked this set. I had nothing like this in my childhood. And I expected the railway to delight my child.
The son, having received the gift, began to ask the Pope to assemble the rails, which the Pope immediately began to do. We played with the whole family with great pleasure, understanding the possibilities of the train, coming up with new railway buildings. The son took turns rolling all his little men in the carriages.
But interest in the game quickly disappeared, the son got tired of just looking at the movement of the train on the rails, he had to drag the train along with him throughout the apartment, run it across the floor from the kitchen into the room, and then catch up, as well as, by turning on the train, hold it in place (to the credit of the manufacturer, the locomotive did not suffer from such treatment). And the rails took up a lot of floor space and made it difficult to walk around the room. As a result, the rails returned to the box, and the son only occasionally remembers them.
The locomotive has been his son’s favorite for six months. The child often plays with the train, but without the rails, the son does not need them at all. A set of additional rails turned out to be an unnecessary purchase altogether.
And we also play with these sets of Lego Duplo:
10580 Set for a fun game
10583 Fishing in the forest
10809 Police patrol
5579 Police motorcycle
4962 Zoo for kids
10518 My first construction site
10592 Fire truck
The truth about railway brakes: part 1 / Habr
Kinetic energy of “Sapsan” at maximum speed – over 1500 megajoules.For a complete stop, all of it must be scattered on the brakes
There was a case, they asked me to reveal this topic in more detail here, on Habré. Quite a lot of review articles on railway topics are published here, but this topic has not yet been covered in detail. I think it would be quite interesting to write an article about this, and perhaps more than one. Therefore, I ask under the cut of those who are interested in how the brake systems of railway transport are arranged, and for what reasons they are arranged this way.
The task of managing any transport includes regulating the speed of its movement. Railway transport is no exception, moreover, its design features bring significant nuances to this process. The train consists of a large number of interconnected carriages, and the resulting system has a significant length and mass at a very decent speed.
By definition, brakes are a set of devices designed to create artificial, adjustable resistance forces used to control vehicle speed reduction.
The most obvious, on the surface, way to create braking force is to use frictional force. Shoe brakes have been used from the very beginning to the present day. Special devices – brake pads made of a material with a high coefficient of friction are mechanically pressed against the rolling surface of the wheel (or against special discs mounted on the axle of the wheelset). There is a frictional force between the shoes and the wheel, which creates a braking torque.
The braking force is regulated by changing the pressing force of the pads to the wheel – brake pressing . The only question is which drive is used to press the pads, and, in part, the history of brakes is the history of the development of this drive.
The first railway brakes were mechanical and were manually operated, separately on each carriage by special people – brakes or conductors. The conductors were on the so-called brake platforms, which were equipped with each car, and applied the brakes at the signal of the locomotive driver.The exchange of signals between the driver and the conductors was carried out using a special signal rope stretched along the entire train, which triggered a special whistle.
An old two-axle freight car with a brake pad. The handbrake knob is visible
The mechanically operated brake itself is low power. The amount of braking pressure depended on the strength and skill of the conductor. In addition, the human factor intervened in the operation of such a braking system – the conductors did not always fulfill their duties correctly.There was no need to talk about the high efficiency of such brakes, as well as about the increase in the speed of the trains equipped with them.
Further development of brakes required, firstly, an increase in the braking pressure, and secondly, to provide the possibility of remote control of them on all cars from the driver’s workplace.
The hydraulic drive used in automobile brakes has become widespread due to the fact that it provides high pressure with compact actuators. However, when using such a system in a train, its main drawback will appear: the need for a special working fluid – brake fluid, the leakage of which is unacceptable. The long length of the brake hydraulic lines in the train, together with the high requirements for their tightness, make it impossible and irrational to create a hydraulic rail brake.
The pneumatic drive is another matter. The use of high pressure air makes it possible to obtain high braking pressures with acceptable dimensions of the actuators – brake cylinders.There is no shortage of working fluid – the air is around us, and even if there is a leakage of the working fluid from the brake system (and it certainly does) it can be replenished relatively easily.
The simplest brake system using the energy of compressed air is direct-acting non-automatic brake
Diagram of direct-acting non-automatic brake: 1 – compressor; 2 – the main tank; 3 – feed line; 4 – train driver’s crane; 5 – brake line; 6 – brake cylinder; 7 – release spring; 8, 9 – mechanical brake transmission; 10 – brake shoe.
For the operation of such a brake, a supply of compressed air is required, which is stored on the locomotive in a special tank called the main tank (2). Forcing air into the main tank and maintaining a constant pressure in it is performed by compressor (1), driven by the power plant of the locomotive. The supply of compressed air to the brake control devices is carried out through a special pipeline called feed (PM) or pressure line (3).
The brakes of the cars are controlled and compressed air is supplied to them by means of a long pipeline running through the entire train and called brake line (TM) (5). When compressed air is supplied through the TM, it fills brake cylinders (TC) (6) connected directly to the TM. Compressed air presses on the piston, pressing the brake pads 10 against the wheels, both on the locomotive and on the cars. Braking occurs.
To stop braking, that is, release brakes, it is necessary to release air from the brake line into the atmosphere, which will lead to the return of the brake mechanisms to their original position due to the force of the release springs installed in the shopping center.
For braking, it is necessary to connect the brake line (TM) with the supply line (PM). For vacation – connect the brake line to the atmosphere. These functions are performed by a special device – train driver’s crane (4) – when braking, it connects the PM and TM, and when it is released, it disconnects these pipelines, while simultaneously releasing air from the TM into the atmosphere.
In such a system, there is also a third, intermediate position of the driver’s crane – overlap when the PM and TM are disconnected, but there is no release of air from the TM into the atmosphere – the driver’s crane completely isolates it.The pressure accumulated in the TM and the shopping center is maintained and the time for maintaining it at the set level is determined by the amount of air leaks through various leaks, as well as the thermal resistance of the brake pads, which heat up when rubbing against the wheel rims. Setting in the overlap both during braking and during release allows you to regulate the braking force in steps. This brake provides both step braking and step release.
With all the simplicity of such a brake system, it has a fatal drawback – when the train is uncoupled, the brake line breaks, air leaves it and the train remains without brakes.It is for this reason that such a brake cannot be applied in railway transport, the price of its failure is too high. Even without the train breaking, if there is a large air leak, the brake performance will be reduced.
Based on the foregoing, a requirement arises that the braking of the train is initiated not by an increase, but by a decrease in pressure in the TM. But how, then, to fill the brake cylinders? This gives the second requirement – a supply of compressed air must be stored on each mobile unit in the train, which must be promptly replenished after each braking.
Engineering thought at the end of the 19th century came to similar conclusions, which was expressed in the creation of the first automatic railway brake by George Westinghouse in 1872.
Westinghouse brake device: 1 – compressor; 2 – the main tank; 3 – feed line; 4 – train driver’s crane; 5 – brake line; 6 – air distributor (triple valve) of the Westinghouse system; 7 – brake cylinder; 8 – spare tank; 9 – stop valve.
The figure shows the device of this brake (figure a – brake operation during release; b – brake operation during braking).The main element of the Vestihaus brake was the brake air distributor or, as it is sometimes called, the triple valve . This air distributor (6) has a sensitive element – a piston operating on the difference between two pressures – in the brake line (TM) and the reserve tank (ZR). If the pressure in the TM becomes less than in the ZR, then the piston is displaced to the left, opening the way for air from the ZR to the TC. If the pressure in the TM becomes greater than the pressure in the ZR, the piston shifts to the right, communicating the TC with the atmosphere, and at the same time communicating the TM and ZR, ensuring the filling of the latter with compressed air from the TM.
Thus, when the pressure in the TM decreases for any reason, be it the actions of the driver, excessive air leakage from the TM, or a train burst, the brakes will work. That is, these brakes have automatic action . This property of the brake made it possible to add another possibility for controlling the train brakes, which is still used on passenger trains to this day – an emergency stop of the train by a passenger, by communicating the brake line with the atmosphere through a special valve – stop valve (9).
For those who are familiar with this feature of the train’s brake system, it is funny to watch films where thieves-cowboys famously unhook a carriage with gold from the train. In order for this to be possible, cowboys must, before uncoupling, turn off the end valves on the brake line that disconnect the brake line from the connecting hoses between the cars. But they never do that. On the other hand, closed end valves have more than once caused terrible disasters associated with brake failure, both in our country (Kamensk in 1987, Eral-Simskaya in 2011) and abroad.
Due to the fact that the filling of the brake cylinders occurs from a secondary source of compressed air (reserve tank), without the possibility of constant replenishment, such a brake is called indirect . The charging of the airbag with compressed air occurs only when the brake is released, which leads to the fact that with frequent braking followed by release, with insufficient time delay after the vacation, the airbag will not have time to charge to the required pressure. This can lead to complete brake depletion and loss of control of the train brakes.
The pneumatic brake also has another disadvantage due to the fact that the pressure drop in the brake line, like any disturbance, propagates in the air with a high, but still final speed – no more than 340 m / s. Why not more? Because the speed of sound is ideal. But in the pneumatic system of the train, there are a number of obstacles that reduce the speed of propagation of the pressure drop jump associated with the resistance to air flow. Therefore, if no special measures are taken, the rate of pressure decrease in the TM will be the lower, the further the car is from the locomotive.In the case of the Westinghouse brake, the speed of the so-called brake wave does not exceed 180-200 m / s.
Nevertheless, the appearance of an air brake made it possible to increase both the power of the brakes and the efficiency of their control directly from the driver’s workplace.This served as a powerful impetus to the development of railway transport, an increase in the speed and weight of trains, and as a result, a colossal increase in freight turnover on the railway. road, growing length of railway lines all over the world.
George Westinghouse was not only an inventor, but also an enterprising businessman. He patented his invention back in 1869, which allowed him to develop mass production of brake equipment. Quite quickly, the Westinghouse brake became widespread in the USA, Western Europe and the Russian Empire.
In Russia, the Westinghouse brake reigned undividedly before the October Revolution, and for quite a long time after it. Firm “Westinghouse” built its own brake plant in St. Petersburg, and also skillfully ousted competitors from the Russian market.However, the Westinghouse brake had a number of fundamental drawbacks.
Firstly, this brake provided only two modes of operation: braking until the brake cylinders were completely filled, and release – emptying the brake cylinders. It was impossible to create an intermediate amount of braking pressure with its long-term maintenance, that is, the Westinghouse brake did not have the overlap mode. This did not allow for precise control of the train speed.
Secondly, the Westinghouse brake did not work well on long trains, and if it was somehow possible to put up with this in passenger traffic, then problems arose in the freight traffic. Remember the brake wave? So, the Westinghouse brake did not have the means to increase its speed, and in a long train, the pressure drop in the TM on the last carriage could begin too late, and at a rate significantly lower than in the head of the train, which created a wild uneven response of the braking devices in the composition.
It must be said that the entire activity of Westinghouse, both in Russia at that time and throughout the world, is thoroughly saturated with the capitalist smell of patent wars and unfair competition. This provided such an imperfect system with such a long life, at least in that historical period.
With all this, it should be admitted that the Westinghouse brake laid the foundations of braking science and the principle of its operation remained unchanged in modern rolling stock brakes.
Almost immediately after the appearance of the Westinghouse brake and the realization of its shortcomings, attempts arose to improve this system, or to create another, fundamentally new.Our country was no exception. At the beginning of the 20th century, Russia possessed a developed network of railways that played a significant role in ensuring the economic development and defense capability of the country. The increase in the efficiency of transport is associated with an increase in the speed of its movement and the mass of the simultaneously transported cargo, which means that the issues of improving the brake systems were sharply raised.
A significant impetus to the development of braking science in the RSFSR and later the USSR was the decrease in the influence of large Western capital, in particular Westinghouse, on the development of the domestic railway industry after October 1917.
F.P. Kazantsev (left) and I.K. Matrosov (right) – the creators of the domestic railway brake
The first sign, the first serious achievement of the young domestic braking science, was the development of the engineer Florenty Pimenovich Kazantsev. In 1921, Kazantsev proposed the direct-acting automatic brake system . The diagram below describes all the main ideas introduced not only by Kazantsev, and its task is to explain the basic principles of the improved automatic brake operation
Direct-acting automatic brake: 1 – compressor; 2 – the main tank; 3 – feed line; 4 – train driver’s crane; 5 – power supply device for brake line leaks; 6 – brake line; 7 – connecting brake hoses; 8 – end valve; 9 – stop valve; 10 – check valve; 11 – reserve tank; 12 – air distributor; 13 – brake cylinder; 14 – brake linkage.
So, the first basic idea is that pressure control in TM is carried out indirectly – through pressure decrease / increase in a special tank, called balance tank (UR). It is shown in the figure to the right of the operator’s crane (4) and above the device for feeding leaks from TM (5). The density of this reservoir is technically much easier to provide than the density of the brake line – a pipe reaching kilometers in length and going through the entire train.The relative stability of the pressure in the UR allows maintaining the pressure in the TM, using the pressure in the UR as a master. Indeed, the piston in the device (5), with a decrease in pressure in the TM, goes down, opening the valve filling the TM from the supply line, thereby maintaining the pressure in the TM equal to the pressure in the UR. This idea still had a long way of development, but now the pressure in the TM did not depend on the presence of external leaks from it (up to certain limits). Device 5 migrated to the driver’s crane and remains in it, in a modified form, to this day.
Another important idea underlying the design of this type of brake is the supply of the RR from the TM through the check valve 10. When the pressure in the TM exceeds the pressure in the RR, this valve opens, filling the RR from the TM. In this way, leaks from the storage tank are continuously replenished and the brake is never exhausted.
The third important idea proposed by Kazantsev is the design of the air distributor, which operates on a difference of not two pressures, but three – pressure in the brake line, pressure in the brake cylinder, and pressure in a special working chamber (RK), which, when released, is powered by pressure from brake line, together with a spare reservoir.In the braking mode, the RK is disconnected from the reserve tank and the brake line, keeping the value of the initial charging pressure. This property is widely used in rolling stock brakes both to ensure step release and to control the uniformity of filling the shopping center along the train in freight trains, because the working chamber serves as a standard of the initial charging pressure. Based on its value, it is possible to provide a step-by-step release and organize an earlier filling of the shopping center in the tail cars.I will leave a detailed description of these things for other articles on this topic, for now I will only say that Kazantsev’s works served as an incentive for the development of a scientific school in our country, which led to the development of original rolling stock brake systems.
Another Soviet inventor who radically influenced the development of domestic rolling stock brakes was Ivan Konstantinovich Matrosov. His ideas did not fundamentally differ from those of Kazantsev, however, the subsequent operational tests of the brake systems of Kazantsev and Matrosov (together with other brake systems) showed a significant superiority of the second system in terms of operational characteristics when used primarily on freight trains.Thus, the Matrosov brake with an air distributor conv. No. 320 became the basis for further development and design of braking equipment for 1520 mm gauge railways. The modern automatic brake used in Russia and the CIS countries can rightfully bear the name of the Matrosov brake, since it absorbed, at the initial stage of its development, the ideas and design solutions of Ivan Konstantinovich.
What is the conclusion? Working on this article convinced me that the topic is worthy of a series of articles.In this pilot article, we touched upon the history of the development of rolling stock brakes. In the next, we will go into spicy details, touching upon not only the domestic brake, but also the developments of colleagues from Western Europe, highlighting the device of brakes of different types and types of rolling stock service. So, I hope the topic will be interesting, and see you again on Habré!
Thank you for your attention!
Trains will soon go across the Crimean bridge – Rossiyskaya Gazeta
In the coming days, the sale of tickets for long-distance passenger trains will start, which will go across the Crimean bridge in December.
Technological trains, delivering rails, sleepers and inert materials from the mainland, have been working on the bridge since the summer of 2018, but only in mid-June of this year, after joining the rails of the first track, they were able to cover the entire 19-kilometer route from the Taman coast to the Kerch one. After the second track was laid on the bridge, the installation of automatic control and management systems for train traffic began, which should be completed by November.
“Alarm, centralization and blocking devices will ensure comfortable and safe movement,” said Sergey Pisarev, leading design engineer of SGM-Most.“Automation of the bridge in real time will interact with the automation of stations and locomotives, the drivers will be able to reduce or pick up speed or slow down on a signal.” and Kerch-Yuzhnaya. Electrical signaling posts are located on both sides of the bridge. Instant data exchange will allow drivers, dispatchers and the operation service to coordinate flows, adjust the speed and the interval between trains.
Now cables are being laid on the railway and track boxes with the necessary equipment are being installed. At the same time ballasting with crushed stone, straightening and straightening of the track superstructure continues. Counter rails are being formed – additional rails inside the main track, which will keep the cars from possible derailment. The installation of lighting racks and noise protection screens continues. The facility employs nearly 3,000 engineers and workers.
In early December, the first passenger trains will go through the Kerch Strait.The way from Taman-Passenger station to Kerch-Yuzhnaya station will take about half an hour, and all this time there is no usual clatter of wheels. After all, the “velvet track” technology was used on the bridge – 84 sets of equalizing joints were installed between sections of the track 440 meters long to compensate for temperature stresses. It is they who give the steel rails to “breathe” freely when the air temperature fluctuates and provide the very quiet running that allows you to enjoy the stunning views of the Kerch Strait from the carriage window.
The Crimean Bridge will be able to handle 65 pairs of trains in both directions during the day: 45 passenger and 20 freight trains
By the time the railway service opens, the Federal Property Management Agency acquired 166 long-distance passenger cars and 10 locomotives. All of them were built in 2017-2018. Among the purchased passenger cars there are everything necessary for the organization of safe and comfortable transportation – compartment, staff compartment with compartments for passengers with disabilities, reserved seats, as well as restaurant cars.All of them are equipped with air conditioning and dry closets. The first diesel and electric locomotives have already been delivered to the peninsula. “The Crimean Railway has already received seven TEP70BS diesel locomotives – at the Dzhankoy depot, and three VL10 electric locomotives – at the Simferopol depot. Taking these locomotives into account, the traction resources of the line will fully provide the volume of long-distance passenger traffic planned at the first stage,” said the acting general director of KZD Alexey Krasotkin
New passenger coaches for long-distance trains will be included in the trains gradually, as new routes are assigned.It is tentatively planned to run eight pairs of trains per day on 11 routes from the mainland to four destinations: Simferopol, Sevastopol, Evpatoria and Feodosia. With the opening of railway traffic, the Crimean Bridge will be able to pass 65 pairs of trains in both directions during the day: 45 passenger and 20 freight.
Over the past three years, 310 kilometers of the railway have been overhauled in the republic. And on the peninsula, passengers will also be met by rails without joints. The permitted speed in all sections from the Crimean bridge to Sevastopol will increase to 120 kilometers per hour.The entire backbone is covered by a reliable mobile network, and 505 kilometers of fiber optic cable are mounted on the towers. Also on the peninsula, all six stations on the way from Kerch to Sevastopol have been repaired. It remains to complete measures to ensure transport safety and accessibility of stations for people with limited mobility.
Kerch-Yuzhnaya is being actively completed – a new KZD station located on the 11th kilometer of the Kerch-Arshintsevo line.