Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, vacuum pioneer based in Cologne, imparts extensive expertise in vacuum technology to one of the most challenging transportation projects of the future. The German-American visionary Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, has set the goal of making the seemingly utopian idea of Tesla founder Elon Musk become reality: From 2018 onward, people shall travel with aircraft speed through a reduced pressure tube system.
Before any implementation, however, a multitude of tests and calculations for the vacuum conditions are required, before the Hyperloop track will be built in Quay Valley, California starting in 2016, transporting the inhabitants of this conceptual city. The track will be an eight kilometers long tunnel, to which the vacuum pumping equipment from Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum is connected.
Using optimum vacuum conditions with an expected pressure range between 100 mbar and 1 mbar, the air resistance against the transport capsule will be reduced and thus the total energy demand of the system is significantly lowered.
The selection of a suitable vacuum system for such a project is essential both for the establishment of the test track, but also for subsequent permanent use. During operation, the safety factors, ease of maintenance, operating costs and sustainability are important parameters, which need to be considered. Careful consideration of these issues in the design and product development are an integral part for project management with Leybold Vacuum. The experiences gained from a variety of long-term research projects contribute to assess the optimum vacuum level needed.
Moreover, the accumulated vacuum expertise of a 165 years old technology leader is put to task: For the pumping-out times, the energy requirements and the recommended configuration, Oerlikon Leybold has already performed simulations.
"With our unique simulation software, PASCAL, we can interpret the entire Hyperloop-conditioning in every detail and thus calculate the required vacuum equipment for optimum operation. In addition, we are contact partners already involved during the run-up phase for all the design issues on vacuum engineering and for the subsequent implementation", explains Carl Brockmeyer, Head of Business Development and Leader for this ambitious project at Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum. Just by taking advantage of existing and proven pumps and systems, a variety of vacuum combinations are possible, with dry compressing, as well as with conventional oil-sealed vacuum pumps.
Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum sees a high potential in the technology, and since vacuum technology is needed, the company aims to contribute to the success of Hyperloop.
"There is a very special motivation in contributing to something fundamentally new which can revolutionised the traditional means of transportation," says Dr Martin Füllenbach, CEO of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum.