RARE EARTH ELEMENTS IN RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE – POTENTIALS FOR AN INFORMATION SYSTEM AS A TOOL FOR OPERATORS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

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Transport Problems

Silesian University of Technology

Subject: Economics, Transportation, Transportation Science & Technology

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eISSN: 2300-861X

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VOLUME 10 , ISSUE SE (December 2015) > List of articles

RARE EARTH ELEMENTS IN RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE – POTENTIALS FOR AN INFORMATION SYSTEM AS A TOOL FOR OPERATORS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

Frank MICHELBERGER / Hirut GROSSBERGER / Peter JUDMAIER

Keywords : rare earth, information system, environment, resources

Citation Information : Transport Problems. Volume 10, Issue SE, Pages 111-124, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/tp-2015-066

License : (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Published Online: 21-April-2017

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ABSTRACT

Rare earth elements are used for specific products and components in the railway infrastructure. The application of rare earths in this sector includes fields such as command and control technology, power supply and telecommunication. The demand for these items continues to rise, whereas the natural supply remains limited. This can lead to escalation of prices and can advance to natural resource conflicts. In addition, the degradation of these elements is often carried out under conditions which can be life threatening or harmful. This contribution presents a new systematic approach for analysis of rare earths in the field of railway infrastructure. This fills the gap of studies in the sector of railway infrastructure regarding identification, substitution, recycling and innovation to replace these elements, which are well performed in other fields of technology and industry. This paper first provides the basics of rare earths and analyses their relevance in the sector. Furthermore, proposes a basic conceptual design of an information system for evaluation and analysis of these elements. This was done by contextual analysis where the relevant stakeholders such as infrastructure operators or industry, were identified. The analysis included the demand of the stakeholder for such an information system. Thus, the design and the architecture of an information system was specified. The system should provide a tool for operators of rail infrastructures to get a systematic overview on the use of rare earths elements and for strategic decisions, e.g. substitution by other elements, cooperation with suppliers for alternatives, including consideration of the Life Cycle Cost.

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