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August 2015

Rail News: MOW

Suppliers offer new or revamped fasteners to help railroads clamp down track

Pandrol USA

Pandrol USA continues to garner strong demand for its fastening systems in 2015, said Vice President of Sales and Marketing Allen Goff in an email. The company is constantly working with customers to address their needs with existing products, while evaluating new concepts to improve product performance and developing ideas for future solutions, he said.

For example, Pandrol has developed its next-generation rail fastening assembly in response to customers’ request for products that can last as long as the rail, said Goff. The new FASTCLIP FE1505 assembly incorporates a recessed rail seat and two-piece integral pad that are designed to significantly extend the life of the components while maintaining the benefit of a slide on/slide off captive fastening system. The FASTCLIP FE1505 currently is being tested in track and is performing well, said Goff.

Pandrol also has developed a new fastening assembly that’s taken the well-known ‘e’-clip to the next level, he said. The new ‘e’-clip RE design offers all the advantages of the original ‘e’-clip fastener while incorporating a number of improvements, such as faster installation times with fewer components and yet increased product life.

In addition Pandrol’s VICTOR product line has grown significantly in the past year, said Goff. Developed for wood ties, VICTOR features a standard AREMA rolled-steel tie plate equipped with a choice of premium elastic fasteners, based on a customer’s preference.

The increased market demand for VICTOR plate systems has prompted Pandrol to boost capacity by adding a second production line that’s already in service. The company also expanded the product line to include both an 18- and 16-inch version set up for either screw or cut spike hole patterns.

Amsted RPS

The Amsted RPS e-clip suite is now complete. After decades of providing fastening systems for freight- and transit-rail needs, Amsted RPS offers the e-clip series in response to customers’ search for an alternative source for high-quality and competitively priced e-clips, Amsted RPS officials said in an email.

The e-clip is a “perfect complement” to the company’sexisting fastening portfolio that ranges from rail anchors to fully embedded rail systems, they said. The e-clip product line includes both left- and right-handed standard clips along with a complete line of e-clip insulators, rail pads and MACRO Armor rail-seat abrasion protector plates for concrete ties, steel ties and trackwork. Amsted RPS also provides plates and screw spikes to support wood-tie systems, as well as applications for bonded direct-fixation fasteners and embedded blocks.

Produced from high-quality spring steel at the company’s manufacturing facility in Atchison, Kan., the e-clips undergo an innovative low-stress manufacturing process that significantly improves fatigue performance, minimizes decarburization and enhances the clip’s working range, Amsted RPS officials said.

Since 1925, Amsted RPS has provided high-performance rail fasteners backed by an in-house research and development lab and high-level customer service, company officials said.

Vossloh North America

Safety and value are the decisive procurement arguments when it comes to carrying out infrastructure projects. All of Vossloh North America’s current and more recently developed fastener products emphasize safety, extended life cycles and enhanced cost effectiveness, said Vossloh North America Vice President and General Manager Ron Martin in an email.

The company has realized enormous potential with the increased use of nylon components, he said, adding that innovative materials contribute significantly to a product’s durability and high economic efficiency.

For example, the abrasion plate of the W Series fastening system — which is produced from fiberglass-reinforced polyamide — is abrasion-resistant and can be loaded with high-contact pressure, said Martin. In addition, its special design prevents penetration of sand and fines, helping reduce any possible rail-seat abrasion issues.

In the transit market, the high portion of durable nylon — used in Vossloh’s DFF 300 UTS and DFF 21 fastening systems, for example — ensures corrosion protection and electrical insulation, said Martin. Compared with steel, lighter nylon material provides logistical advantages and easier installation, enhances occupational safety and helps reduce metal theft.

With its new plant in Waco, Texas, Vossloh North America aims to show freight railroads and transit agencies its commitment to the North American market, said Martin. And by setting up an ultra-modern production facility, the company is making state-of-the-art technologies available locally, meeting the requirements of the Buy American Act, he added.

“With our modern and efficient products and services, Vossloh is the ideal local supplier for North America‘s network operators with a view to pushing ahead and implementing the safest and most technologically advanced products available,” said Martin.

L.B. Foster Co.

This year appears to be another good one for L.B. Foster Co.’s fastener business even as the company winds up deliveries for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s transit-rail project — which entailed the authority’s largest single fastener order, L.B. Foster officials said in an email.

The company continues to see a solid flow of other opportunities among a variety of North American transit agencies, such as the Dulles 2 project in the Washington, D.C., area, they said. The company also continues to support projects that enhance the growth of the nation’s infrastructure in such key areas as ongoing maintenance programs, rehabilitation of existing lines, and new lines and expansions.

In addition, L.B. Foster is meeting transit agency requirements as technical efforts revolve around the development of new products for specific applications, company officials said. For example, L.B. Foster is focused on opportunities to extend the life of infrastructure components in severe environmental conditions, such as tunnels.

Through the novel use of coatings, solutions involving an application to specific elements of the fastener are expected to dramatically reduce corrosion and significantly extend the life of the fastener in these situations, company officials said.

L.B. Foster also has developed unique products for heavy-haul rail applications since some open-deck railroad bridge approaches require resilient fastener solutions. Moreover, the company has established a growing presence in global transit markets to pursue growth opportunities throughout the world, leverage internal collaboration with other global product teams to develop unique technical and product solutions, and bring new initiatives and market opportunities forward, company officials said.

Lewis Bolt & Nut Co.

Lewis Bolt & Nut Co. continues to focus on creating new products or enhancing existing ones to meet Class Is’ demand for products that speed the repair or maintenance process and yet maintain the safest possible work environment, said Vice President of Sales Dave Barry in an email.

The company’s Evergrip® and Permagrip® spikes are examples of that effort, he said. The Evergrip spike can be driven by an automatic or portable spiker, and can be installed up to two-and-a-half times faster than a traditional lagging machine.

“Because of its many advantages over traditional track or screw spikes, the Evergrip has become the largest selling screw spike in North America,” said Barry.

Now, Lewis Bolt & Nut offers a patent-pending Quick-Set® Hook Bolt System. Introduced earlier this year, the system is designed to eliminate the need to drill holes to install hook bolts, which often can cause cracks to form and shorten tie life, said Barry.

In addition, it no longer is necessary for an installer to lie on the tie deck and attempt to feed the bolts up through the holes, a task that’s both difficult and unsafe, he said. The Quick-Set System is designed for quick and safe installation between the ties, with installation time averaging five minutes or less per bolt.

Angled inward 15 degrees to keep the deck from moving laterally, the hook bolt fits through an accompanying bracket and is attached with a flat washer and nut. An installer can reach down and engage the flange while holding the bracket.

Construction Polymers Technologies

Construction Polymers Technologies produces the Resilient Fastener (RF) at its facility in Saukville, Wis. A high-performance fastener, the RF was designed in conjunction with MTA New York City Transit (NYCT).

The transit agency needed a fastener that could withstand the rigors of its subway system — which includes 138 route miles of tunnels, and 70 route miles of elevated and viaduct structures — as well as provide exceptional noise/vibration attenuation and electrical isolation, Construction Polymers Technologies officials said in an email.

NYCT’s track structure generally involves wood ties embedded in concrete and steel aerial structures with wood-tie decks. Since there’s virtually no resilience in either of those track structures, noise and vibration levels are elevated, Construction Polymers Technologies officials said.

The RF can rectify the problem by providing the highest degree of noise and vibration attenuation of any direct-fixation fastener currently on the market, they said. The RF now has been in service at NYCT for more than 10 years, with more than 1 million units installed.

The fastener can achieve exceptional acoustical performance through the use of a specialized microcellular polyurethane pad, produced in conjunction with partner Getzner USA, a leading noise- and vibration-attenuating product supplier, Construction Polymers Technologies officials said.

The RF’s bottom plate is a fabrication so the anchorage positions can be custom configured to a customer’s requirements, while the top plate can be produced as a fabrication to accommodate the use of different rail hold-down clips, rail sections, and canted or non-canted rail seats.

The company also produces a line of “Resilient Fasteners” for use with guard rails, restraining rails and special trackwork.

Stage 8 Locking Fasteners Inc.

The Stage 8 Cap Screw Locking System (CSLS) is the result of years spent on design, engineering, analysis, research and testing, as well efforts to obtain Association of American Railroads (AAR) approval, Stage 8 Locking Fasteners Inc. officials said in an email. The company received conditional AAR approval for the system in 2013. The AAR Wheels, Axles, Bearings and Lubrication Committee’s approval of the CSLS marked the first time in more than 50 years that any new technology was approved for end cap locking systems, Stage 8 officials said.

Field tests completed by the company to date show the Stage 8 CSLS doesn’t allow the roller bearing cap screws to loosen. In both the 50,000- and 150,000-mile field tests conducted on coal cars in service, 100 percent of the Stage 8 CSLS-equipped cap screws retained more than 90 percent of the torque applied at installation, company officials said.

By comparison, only 20 percent to 33 percent of the cap screws equipped with standard locking plates, installed simultaneously, retained the 90 percent level, the tests showed.

The initial investment to equip 100 freight cars with the Stage 8 CSLS will be recouped via reduced maintenance costs from the first four to eight setouts that are prevented by the system, according to the company. Based on the current cost of replacing a wheel set — about $2,200 — the savings are accrued before factoring in the additional reduced costs from “delay burdens,” Stage 8 officials said.

Since safety is paramount in the rail industry, the Stage 8 CSLS can eliminate any concerns about loose cap screws causing a premature bearing failure or derailment, they said.

United Steel and Fasteners Inc.

United Steel and Fasteners Inc. (USF) offers a variety of track, crossing, bridge and car hardware and fastenings for various applications.

The company’s “Beaver” crossing timber screws are made from alloy steel in 5/8- and 3/4-inch diameters with square torx head for easy installation and removal.

The company also offers AREMA split lock washers, rail clips, premium tie plugs and various bridge fasteners, including forged head hook bolts, one-piece washer nuts, drift pins, drive spikes and malleable washers.

In addition, USF provides a full range of pins for rolling stock — such as knuckle, coupler and center pins — and locomotive fasteners.

Meanwhile, the company’s research and development team continues to design and develop more effective and efficient fastening components and systems for testing, evaluation and adoption in the marketplace based on customer feedback, USF officials said in an email.

The company recently installed in-house rail clip testing equipment to fatigue test its rail clips — including toe load, uplift and cycle tests (3 million cycles) — to ensure the clips meet and exceed specifications.

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Browse articles on Pandrol USA Amsted RPS Vossloh North America L.B. Foster Co. Lewis Bolt & Nut Co. Construction Polymers Technologies Stage 8 Locking Fasteners Inc. United Steel & Fasteners Inc.

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