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Rail News Home Mechanical

November 2016

Rail News: Mechanical

Technology update: Rail wheels and bearings

Photo – Jamaica Bearings Group


This month, providers of wheels, axle and bearing technology share information on what’s new (as well as tried and true) in terms of rail wheel, bearing and related technology.

Progress Rail: Wheelsets and wheelset components

Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, has years of experience in wheelset assembly, component manufacturing and remanufacturing, along with an extensive network of recycling operations. The company offers wheelsets, including new mounts or re-profiled; new axles; axle downsizing and plating; cone bore plating; and bearing reconditioning.

Progress Rail also is the original developer of wheelset bar coding in support of correct component identification. “This system has been further developed to incorporate filters that address AAR-prohibited items, rules to ensure data integrity, and continued improvement of data acquisition and storage of critical quality information,” the company says.

And officials at Progress Rail continue to embrace new and improved quality control methods, such as the next generation of computer-aided ultrasonic inspection of axles and wheelsets, new temperature-compensating measuring systems in the company’s bearing remanufacturing process and process verification systems to “ensure the quality our customers expect,” Progress Rail says.

Timken: A range of bearing solutions, including the AP-2

Serving the rail industry since the 1920s, The Timken Co. offers a range of friction management technologies — notably, new and reconditioned bearings.

The company also offers complementary services, including technical support for locomotive, and freight- and passenger-car applications. Customers include Class Is, transit authorities and wheelset repair shops.

Among Timken’s bearing solutions: the AP-2™. Designed for heavier loads and increased speeds, the AP-2 bearing minimizes fretting wear. And when integrated with the company’s premium seals and polymer cages, it can offer “significant energy savings,” the company says. It also is designed to reduce bearing set outs and bearing failure due to water ingress.

The AP-2 also reduces component wear rejection and axle fillet damage, decreasing the potential for axle failure and the occurrence of axle grooving, company officials say.

The company also offers a range of bearing reconditioning services and onsite vehicle maintenance. And a line of seal products is available to prevent contamination, and premium lubrication designed to keep trains running smoothly.

In addition, Timken offers training on rail bearing fundamentals.

“We draw upon experience and knowledge from the world’s most challenging industries, benefiting all of our customers for both new and reconditioned bearings,” the company says.

SKF: Journal bearings, low-torque seals, fitted backing ring

SKF offers solutions for all rolling stock types — from freight and passenger cars to locomotives and high-speed rail applications. SKF offers a full line of AAR-approved journal bearings that “utilize the latest in technology in bearing efficiency” — low-torque LL seals, polymer cages and logarithmic roller profiles all contribute to improved performance and longer bearing life, the company says. The LL seals are AAR-approved for interchangeability with “all major journal bearing brands,” SKF says.

The next generation of SKF’s Universal Fitted Backing Ring — the SKF SecureFit — is designed to offer superior performance properties in water and contamination hold out, and additional design features contribute to ease of maintenance. Testing is underway, with AAR approval expected in 2017, according to the company.

With an industry focus that’s trending toward total life cycle cost, SKF offers products and services that support “condition-based maintenance solutions,” the company says.

For example, SKF’s IMx-B can provide on-board analysis in real time of any rolling element system, the company says.

Jamaica Bearings Group: Bearings, seals and other solutions

The Railway Division of Jamaica Bearings Group (JBG) distributes bearings, seals and other propulsion-related products to freight and passenger railroads across the globe. JBG also provides a range of inventory and supply chain management services.

“Customized inventory and supply chain management services allow Jamaica Bearings to provide stability in an industry that is incredibly fluid,” says JBG Director of Railway Business Development Peter Harper.

JBG is an authorized distributor for more than 100 product lines that support the manufacture and maintenance of rail-car trucks and propulsion systems. In addition to maintaining bearing industry inventory, the company also offers warehouse and kit consumable materials for traction motor, generator and gearbox overhaul projects of all sizes.

Cooper Bearings: Bearings and journal boxes

Cooper Bearings Inc., a PowerRail company, is an AAR M-1003 certified provider of new and remanufactured bearings and journal boxes used in freight- and passenger-rail applications.

Offerings include a full line of new and unit exchange GG adaptor boxes, including the P/N E9539650 and P/N E9539650-UX.

Support parts include a range of plate assemblies, including liner lateral pad assembly, a plate assembly shock mounting-upper and a plate assembly shock-mounting lower. All parts are quality assured and tested, the company says.

Amsted Rail: Bearings and wheels

Amsted Rail offers Brenco® bearings and Griffin® wheels.

Brenco Bearings was founded in 1949 to manufacture bronze journal bearings for railroad freight cars. In 1959, Brenco received conditional AAR approval for the tapered roller bearing, according to Amsted’s website. The company’s all-purpose journal roller bearings for freight-car and other applications are fully approved under AAR Certificate 5A and AAR Quality Assurance Program M-1003.

Available in 4.25-inch by 8-inch through GG sizes for freight cars and locomotives, the bearings contain hot rolled-ring forged and case-hardened inner and outer races to provide grain structure and core toughness for maximum fatigue resistance, according to information featured in Progressive Railroading’s 2016-17 Car & Locomotive Buyers Guide & Yearbook. Brenco, which manufactures and designs its own grease seals, is an ISO-9000-certified supplier.

Brenco’s no-field lube, GG locomotive bearing is designed to stand up to high loads, impact, temperature extremes, dust, dirt and moisture, according to the Car & Locomotive Buyers Guide. Rolled-ring forging and case-hardening provide superior metallic structure, high impact and core toughness for maximum fatigue resistance, the company says. All new Brenco GG bearings come equipped with low torque/low temperature DDL grease seals.

In production since 1966, Griffin wheels feature witness grooves so the recontouring operation will better produce matched tapes throughout the locomotive, as noted on Amsted’s website. Griffin’s patented Micro Alloy® wheel, which provides greater strength at higher temperatures, resulting in fewer wheelset removals and “dramatically longer wheel life,” the company says.

Freight-car wheels are offered in 28-, 33-, 36- and 38-inch diameters, according to the Car & Locomotive Buyers Guide. Locomotive wheels also are offered in the following sizes: 41-inch diameter with a 3-inch rim thickness; and 42-inch diameter with a 2.5-inch rim thickness.

Railquip Inc.: Mobile lifting tables

Railquip Inc. recently introduced a line of Heavy Duty Mobile Lifting Tables for the transport of vehicle components within a maintenance facility. The portable lifting tables facilitate the movement of HVAC equipment, bogies, wheelsets, air tanks, batteries, transformers and other equipment.

Railquip’s self-propelled lifting tables have a minimum design height of 18 inches (460 millimeters) and a lifting height of up to 87 inches (2,200 millimeters). Lifting capacities range from one ton up to as much as 66 tons.

Operated via remote control, the battery-powered tables feature four-wheel steering with 90-degree steering lock, and programmable steering programs for precision positioning.

With the “infinite adjustability” of the lifting table deck, users can accurately position components for installation, the company says. The tables can be delivered with a smooth deck or custom-fitted with rails in the desired gauge. Railquip also can custom design around existing models to meet customers’ requirements.

Several Heavy Duty Lifting Table models are designed for lifting, transporting and lowering wheelsets during changeout. The units have a lowered height of 11 inches (275 millimeters) and a lifting height of up to 51 inches (1,300 millimeters).

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