China has been hailed as one of the most innovative places on the planet. The Chinese tend to change conventional science into something more science fiction than anything. Take for instance the train that builds train tracks, the SLJ/900/32.
China has been able to lower its cost of building high speed railroads by a third of what it normally costs, as well as the time taken to accomplish the task. This is thanks to a robot that actually looks like a train called SLJ/900/32.
The 580 ton, 300 foot long and 24 foot wide Machine was built by the Beijing Wowjoint Machinery company and it is set to change how bridges are constructed in China. China puts a lot of emphasis on transport to open up far flung regions in the country. This in turn, leads to increased business opportunities and therefore bringing development to areas that were previously considered difficult to access, as well as cutting down the time taken to travel to those areas.
How the SLJ/900/32 Works
The SLJ/900/32 looks like a huge train. When railway and road pillars are built, this machine is able to place girders from one pillar to another in an extremely creative way. It carries the girder across the already placed girders and when it reaches the point where the girder has not been placed, it extends its robotic hands and bridges the gap between the two empty pillars.
With the help of technicians, the machine then carefully places the girder, which is carried in the belly of the machine, between the two pillars. Previously that job was done by a host of cranes, which had to lift the girders from the ground vertically and lift them up. Meanwhile, other cranes would be on standby on top of one of the pillars to receive the girder and then place it in between the two pillars, horizontally. A painstakingly slow and time consuming process that also required a lot of manpower to accomplish the said task. Now that job can be done in only a fraction of the time with less manpower.
What next for the SLJ/900/32
The SLJ/900/32 also caught the attention of the World Bank, and the machine appeared in a 2014 report titled High speed Railways in China: A look at construction costs. The World Bank noted in the report that this machine had cut down the costs of building high speed railways tremendously compared to other countries because of ‘low cost viaduct construction.’ The SLJ/900/32 is directly responsible for the lower prices of construction.
China is now planning to start the mass production of this cost cutting technology for export. There are reports that India has already shown interest of acquiring this cutting edge technology. India is also experiencing a boom in high speed railway construction and this machine will go a long way in cutting costs and time of building the railways.
With time, the building of railways and roads will come down thanks to innovative technology like the SLJ/900/32. And China will be at the forefront of showing the world how this can be achieved in the least possible time. In addition to other inventions that China has made possible such as paper making, gunpowder and the mechanical clock, China has achieved another first with the SLJ/900/32.