What Encompasses Rail Maintenance Equipment?
Rail maintenance equipment is a broad term covering a myriad of equipment categories to assist in the maintenance and repair operations of rail equipment such as rail cars, engines and their respective parts.
Rail maintenance machinery can run above the tracks, below the tracks, and parallel to the tracks within a rail maintenance facility. Rail MRO equipment can also be embedded into the floors. We’ll discuss several types of rail maintenance equipment in this article to help plan your rail maintenance facility.
Above the track rail maintenance equipment
These include rail gantries which traverse the maintenance tracks placed on either side of a rail car. They are designed to travel over the roofs of the rail cars with technicians and tools to address MRO issues with rooftop systems.
On the track rail maintenance equipment
Rail gantries are also custom designed to support the work done on an engine’s nosecone for cleaning and repair services. The nosecone gantry is placed on the main tracks and fits snuggly against the engine’s nosecone, where a technician can ergonomically complete their MRO duties.
Drop tables rise from below the maintenance tracks to support the bogies or wheel sets while technicians remove them. Then the drop tables take the wheelset by lowering it and traversing another underground track to rise up again, where a forklift can take the old set away. Then a new set is paced on the drop table, and the process is reversed.
Split rail systems utilize a manually guided vehicle on tracks below the train car to remove the wheel sets or bogies, offering another option to the types of rail maintenance machinery available to an MRO facility.
Rail body supports, and rail car hoists are incorporated into the maintenance tracks to raise a locomotive or rail car and lower the wheelsets for removal. These work in tandem with rail turntables to maneuver the wheel sets to their destination.
Parallel to the tracks, rail maintenance equipment
Electric jacks are a popular addition to any rail MRO facility because of their impressive lifting capacities and portability. These are most commonly used in fours, two on either side of the rail car to lift the car for maintenance operations. These jacks can be operated individually or in tandem. They are available in multiple capacities and designs to fit any application solution required.
Rail turntables are another important part of the process of removing wheelsets when rail car hoists and body supports are used rather than drop tables to perform maintenance operations. These are manually turned once the wheelset is in place to follow another track removing and introducing wheelsets to and from the rail car.
Automated guided vehicles can also be custom engineered to move the wheelsets and bogies during rail maintenance and repair operations. These units are capable of moving thousands of pounds of cargo and are fitted with specialized tooling to place the wheelsets and bogies safely for transport.
Rail maintenance rotisseries place the truck assemblies at an ergonomic and efficient height, rotating the units for precise positioning.
Of course, there are many more options to build the rail maintenance facility you require to perform rail maintenance operations. These options are found within the Handling Specialty portfolio and should be discussed with one of our knowledgeable rail maintenance equipment technical salespeople.