Hitachi – Wheel Load Balancing and Vehicle Levelling

Hitachi fleet engineers keep the high-speed class 395 fleet in optimum condition through practical application of the best technologies in the UK railway industry. This improves derailment safety, reduces gauge infringement risk and extends wheel lives.

For the past few years, we have collaborated with Hitachi to improve vehicle suspension on the class 395 fleet. With ExcelWraps, Hitachi can blend analytical skills with a practical approach to achieve a twelve-fold reduction in man-hours and a deeper understanding of vehicle suspension systems.


The interaction between primary suspension packing, bogie frame stiffness, influence of anti-roll bars, air suspension and levelling system is complicated. ExcelWraps makes this easy when delivering responsive work instructions to the depot floor. Our solution always gets it right the first time and vastly improves the traditional trial and error approach.

  • All measurements and adjustments are recorded along with digital signatures to a cloud database.
  • Through the cloud, all fleet records can be seen from any device at any location at any time, which provides an unprecedented level of transparency in the rail industry.

The process developed is applicable to any railway vehicle.

Andy Armstrong is the Chief Wrap Creator at Hitachi’s Ashford Train Depot. Andy knows everything there is to know about overhauling the high-speed class 395 trains. When Andy set about building his ExcelWrap system, he did so knowing this complex process intimately. Whilst the process is complicated, implementation of the ExcelWraps solution is straightforward.

Some 215 electronic forms have been deployed to cover the engineering process both on and off site. At a glance, Andy can see what is happening at subcontractor sites in Manchester, Doncaster as well as at the Ashford site itself. All the information gathered in the cloud can be easily interrogated to investigate engineering problems and to build a case for equipment life extension.

When the overhauled train is returned to service, it does so having being signed off by 205 users, each with their own specialist accredited competence. Ready access to information and the built-in user competence is transforming Hitachi’s business.