By providing a condition monitoring test rig for inspecting train wheelsets and gearboxes, Schaeffler is helping a rail operator in Asia to eliminate unplanned train downtime and minimise maintenance costs.
Local public transport with regional rail vehicles is part of the customer’s core business. Low maintenance costs and high train availability are crucial factors for the railway operator. Any downtime or delays can mean considerable costs and financial penalties.
To ensure the best possible availability, the gearboxes and wheels of all the wheelsets of a train, including its axle and gearbox bearings, are regularly inspected, overhauled or replaced. The customer was therefore looking for a system that would ensure the reliability and accuracy of checks, while also minimising the downtimes of the trains.
With its special condition monitoring test rig for railway gearboxes and axlebox bearings, Schaeffler implemented a cost-effective option optimised for the customer’s specific application. Schaeffler SmartCheck sensors are simply attached to the components to be monitored using magnets and undertake precise measurements of vibration and temperature without a requirement for further installation outlay. Components monitored include gears in gearboxes, gearbox bearings, wheel axles and axlebox bearings.
The sensors are directly connected via a Schaeffler SmartController to the input and output terminals such as an HMI touchscreen control panel, an external monitor, and alarm and data processing systems. The axles are driven by means of an integrated electric motor for the test runs. In addition, the system can reliably check whether the bearings were correctly mounted, for example, after bearing replacement. Parameters monitored include vibration, temperature, speed and bearing end position.
For the customer, the integrated system for the inspection of gearboxes and wheelsets is an important tool in eliminating unplanned downtimes and malfunctions in rail applications. The investment in the test rig is also significantly lower compared with the cost of complex onboard monitoring systems, which are often used in long distance trains. The customer is also benefitting from the following:
- Reliable and very precise condition monitoring
- Simple and full integration to the customer’s infrastructure
- User-friendly and efficient operation
- Inspection of gearboxes without dismantling and changing the oil
- Inspection of bearings without dismounting and replacing the seals
- Mounting check after maintenance or replacement of bearings
Unplanned downtime of trains can always result in direct and indirect costs for rail operators. The reputation of the operator can also be damaged, particularly in public transport applications. In this particular case, there is an additional significant risk because any downtime or delays in rail traffic is penalised in the form of severe financial penalties stipulated by national regulations. Following the positive experience with Schaeffler’s test rig, the customer is now planning to use the system at other locations.
Learn more at www.schaeffler.co.uk.