The OMK Steel Track railway car maintenance company has installed ultrasonic equipment at 19 of its depots to measure the tension of the inside race of wheelset roller bearings. Very soon, this equipment will also be coming to a further 18 of the company's depots.
The total amount invested in the equipment designed to improve the wheelset repair process is in excess of RUB 15,800,000.
During medium-term and capital wheelset repairs, depots always verify the quality of the interference fit between the inside race and the shaft to prevent slippage during axle assembly operation. Unlike earlier inspection tools, the new instrumentation made at the Siberia National Railway University is equipped with an ultrasonic sensor that measures the tension. This helps make high-precision measurements of the condition of wheelsets in the course of interim and capital repairs recording both the amount of tension and component defects. At the same time, there can be no measurement errors, including those caused by human error. OMK Steel Track depots are now able to determine wheelset condition quickly and with an accuracy of 0.005 mm. The instrument also has a built-in memory. It can hold all the data of a wheelset, which can be output on demand.
“Incorrect race interference may result in axles overheating and the wheelset journal breaking and even provoke railway car separation at a later point. We are trying to increase wheelset life for our customers following maintenance. The use of these new inspection instruments in our depots is a step in that direction.” commented OMK Steel Track Managing Director Dmitri Romanov.
OMK Steel track has already equipped 19 of its depots with high-precision instruments to determine the interference fit of the inside races of bearings: Rubtsovsk (Altai Territory), Yegoshino and Smychka (Sverdlovsk Region), Rossosh (Voronezh Region), Sosnogorsk (Komi Republic), Vereshchagino (Perm Territory), Barabinsk and Bolotnaya (Novosibirsk Region), Bologoye (Tver Region), Zima (Irkutsk Region), Zlatoust (Chelyabinsk Region), Kemerovo and Topki (Kemerovo Region), Kem (Republic of Karelia), Salsk (Rostov Region), Sassovo (Ryazan Region), Tula (Tula Region), Uzhur (Krasnoyarsk Territory), and the Svobodnoye Railway Car Maintenance Facility (Amur Region).
The inside races are press fit using two methods: cold and hot. For the hot press fit, a race is heated to a pre-determined temperature using a furnace or an induction heater and then easily inserted over an axle journal. The disadvantage of this method is that to continue the axle assembly installation process, the race has to cool down. Which requires additional time. The OMK Steel Track depots use the cold method. It enables the depot to continue assembly right after the race is installed.