There’s so much innovation happening across Bombardier all the time. We wanted to shine a light on the people who are making that happen.
Welcome to Bombardier Breakthroughs, a new series where you’ll be introduced to the outstanding inventors, and their cutting-edge inventions, that contribute to the advancement of Bombardier Transportation and Aviation.
Introducing Shunan Wang
In this edition, meet Engineering Requirements Manager, Shunan Wang in Henningsdorf, Germany. Shunan has an academic background in rail technology and has been working with Bombardier Transportation for over seven years. She was even nominated for the Innovation Award for Female Mobility Designers in 2019! While completing her master’s degree, she had an opportunity to redesign the layout of the ZEFIRO 300 in Italy to improve wheelchair access, which has since been patented and is a crucial addition to Bombardier’s strategic patent portfolio.
From issue to inspiration
The standard train car typically had the space for wheelchairs, but the area was often isolated in a corner or the back of a train car. This configuration limited access to amenities and affected the comfort of the train ride for wheelchair users.
The team identified the opportunity for a layout redesign based on Shunan’s master thesis research on train economics for space-saving measures and on the transport needs of wheelchair users. They were asked to leverage the research and come up with a reconfiguration of the layout of the train car.
“The target was to have everything a wheelchair user needs in one car,” Shunan explained. “So to have the area for accommodation of the wheelchairs, accessible restrooms and catering facilities.”
From idea to invention
Shunan’s team collaborated with industrial designers and architects to brainstorm on how to make the ZEFIRO 300 accessible to wheelchair users, and more importantly, how to make the space inclusive. The team worked through the challenges of collecting information and learning the ins and outs of integrating systems, such as including a newly designed lift at the train car entrance, into their plans.
Top view of ZEFIRO 300 layout
The influence on Bombardier’s business
As our cities grow and rely on transportation to remain connected, the demand for wheelchair accessibility on trains is higher than ever before. “Lobbying for wheelchair users has become stronger, which is good,” said Shunan. “And there is a need to ensure that trains are inclusive, which was not the case 20 years ago.”
The invention demonstrates Bombardier Transportation’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation to make reliable, safe and sustainable transportation available for all! The redesign of the ZEFIRO 300 not only maximized interior space, but it ensured that all passengers would be able to enjoy the comforts and amenities of our trains to the fullest.
The internal patent filing process
Although the patent process was new to Shunan, she had the support and expertise of senior engineer, Steffen Scharf, on her team who was already familiar with the standard patent procedure. They collaborated to follow through the invention disclosure and review process to file in 2011.