Maintenance and engineering work is an inevitable aspect of the rail industry and, whether it’s planned or unforeseen, service and repairs carried out on trains can cause a huge headache for passengers. For this reason, operators are continually looking for ways to minimise disruption. On top of that, the introduction of 24-hour operation means rolling stock is required to run for longer with smaller gaps for service and maintenance.
So how can train builders and operators tackle the higher stresses placed on rail services? The first step is to build trains using high-quality components. Antivibration components such as suspension and shock mounts can play a key role in increasing the longevity of trains. Typically recognised for enhancing rider safety and improving comfort, anti-vibration components are also vital in decreasing the overall maintenance costs by reducing the force of vibration on surrounding components and improving their longevity.
The range of forces and vibrations passenger trains are exposed to can be a result of track conditions, not only causing noise and discomfort on board but impacting the components within the train. Poor track conditions can inevitably cause rolling stock to require maintenance sooner than predicted resulting in breakdown or failure. To counter track irregularities, anti-vibration products are an essential consideration, optimising vehicle movement and allowing vertical and lateral forces to be transmitted safely.
Sourcing and installing high-quality parts is a key priority, but looking to the future train operators are exploring new ways to monitor the performance of fleets. Condition-based monitoring is a concept which helps to utilise the maximum lifespan of each component on the basis that its remaining working life can be predicted. Using accurate and up to date information about rolling stock fleets, maintenance operators can recognise and monitor faults before they occur based on external factors such as vibration, noise or heat. The process helps ensure rolling stock is only taken out of service for maintenance when it is actually necessary.
While daily maintenance and routine inspections are a necessity that won’t be replaced, the additional pressure on maintenance operators could be removed if longer-lasting, reliable components are installed and specified during the design and build stage. Although many components are currently fit for purpose, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) need to ensure their products are robust enough to meet the demands of future performance requirements, such as longer operating times and increased passenger levels.
For more information about Trelleborg’s antivibration solutions for rail, please visit www.trelleborg.com