Craig Bishop, VAE Railway Systems - Turnout Manufacture in Australia


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Craig Bishop, Engineer Manager, VAE Railway Systems delivered the presentation at the RISSB’s 2013 Rail Turnouts Workshop.

The RISSB’s National Rail Turnouts Workshop 2013 gives all those involved an in-depth forum to consolidate and share the latest technical information for rail turnouts. Drawing on industry expertise, the workshop features technical and practical presentations that address key turnout functions in an every-day operational context.

For more information about the event, please visit:

Published in: Engineering

Craig Bishop, VAE Railway Systems - Turnout Manufacture in Australia

  1. 1. by Craig Bishop Engineering Manager VAE Railway Systems Pty. Ltd. Turnout Manufacture in Australia
  2. 2. To provide an insight into the key issues in the manufacture and supply of turnouts:  The contractual issues that must be addressed Before During After  The design and development functions to meet specifications  The manufacturing and inspection processes  Final Processing, Quality, Dispatch
  3. 3. I. Background II. Requirements  Technical / Design / Materials / R & D III. Manufacture of Turnouts & Components  Process’s (Drill / Bend / Machine / Weld)  Tooling  Assembly (Switches / Crossing / Components) IV. Special Manufacturing Process’s  Flashbutt welding / Explosive Hardening V. Testing and Quality Assurance VI. Conclusions
  4. 4. Manufacturing In Australia  There are only a few specialised suppliers that can manufacture & supply turnout assemblies in Australia.  The industry is very specialised, with employees usually trained in house or from people with railway backgrounds.  Traditionally turnouts were supplied only to the Rail Systems to their designs.  Experience in Turnout knowledge is decreasing with allot of new designers, consultants & contractors.  Allot of contracts are by tender with contractual conditions and a technical specification.  Many of the supply contracts are also performance based and will require new designs with defined benefits.
  5. 5. Manufacturing & Supply in Australia (The supply of turnouts is varied and complicated with many requirements that affect manufacture)  Customer specific  Package Supply  Partial or complete assemblies  Variance in contract specifications  Quantity of Turnouts  Gauge required or dual gauge  Specialised materials involved  Rail size, many options Expansion Switch
  6. 6. Initial Requirements:  Actions needed prior to manufacture.  Technical clarification  Design requirements  Materials  Research and development  Timeframe / Delivery
  7. 7. In the Beginning:  Is there special turnouts required (Not Standard)  Are there existing designs available  Complete supply, partial supply or just components  What are the long leadtime components/ specialised components  Are there type approvals required and are drawings required for customer approvals and manufacture  What installation & maintenance information required **Generally due to the number of variations it is necessary to complete a separate work order or materials list for each turnout to cover all the specific purchased and manufactured parts**
  8. 8. How does the manufacturer ensure that the product will be configured correctly for the customers needs?  Use an Identification Sheet  Review specifications  Ask questions up front  Clarify anything that is uncertain Identification sign off sheet
  9. 9. Major items that cause delays:  What is to be supplied (Scope)  Handing of turnouts  Rail type  Inbearers/ concrete / Timber / Steel  Positions of GIJ’s (if required)  Type of operation of the turnout  Switch Machine Specs & location  Special designs (long leadtime)  Complex Dual Gauge Turnouts Rail Rolling Mill – Leoben, Austria
  10. 10. Additional functions that now form part of the manufacturing process:  Trying to standardise designs between customers  Fitting new designs to specific areas (civil interface)  Approval drawings  Weight and length calculations (lifting information)  Assembly and Maintenance documentation
  11. 11.  Crossovers  Scissors Crossovers  Flexed Turnouts  Simiflexure  Contraflexure  Dual Gauge Turnouts  Diamonds  Mixed Gauge Diamonds  Lap Beams Diamonds  Double Slips  Single Slips  Expansion Switches Specialised Trackwork QR - Roma Street Flexed Scissors Crossover
  12. 12. Examples
  13. 13. Design Requirements for manufacture  Layout drawings  Manufacturing or details drawings  Individual drawings for CNC programs  Drawings for specialised components  Modeling of components  Checking of all drawings (Quality Assurance for design)  Drawings and documentation submitted for approval  Technical purchase information and details for suppliers **Some special designs may contain up to 25 drawings to complete for manufacturing** Jointless Boltless Managanese Cast Crossing (Monoblock) - 3D Model for casting
  14. 14. Typical Turnout Layout
  15. 15. Supporting design functions required  Ensure interfaces of disciplines (Civil / Mechanical / Electrical)  Concrete bearer coordinates and drawings for Suppliers  The design and supply of operating rodding  Special components (example. Castings)  Bill of materials for manufacture  Quality control / checksheets  Loading and Dispatch documentation Interface between operating equipment & Swing Nose Crossing - Modelled to check interfaces
  16. 16. New Turnouts / Switch & Crossing Designs Require:  Geometries to meet speed and axle loads  wheel profiles to check overrunning conditions & transfer areas  Machining angles, machining process’s and special tooling  CNC modelling for machining components  Drilling positions and bolting arrangements  Guarding of crossings and flange ways widths  Crossing materials and hardness requirements  Bearer type: timber / concrete / steel / polymer  Plating, fastening and materials to suit nominated loads
  17. 17.  Conventional full depth switch  Tangential switch with asymmetrical rail  Pivot heel switches  Fixed heel switches  Secant switch (non tangential)  KGO tangential switch (new technology) Typical Turnout Switch Designs Tangential Switch SectionConventional Switch Section
  18. 18. Switch Assembly
  19. 19. Video of CNC program prior to actual manufacture CNC MACHINING
  20. 20. 5 15 18 10 24 50 30 35 150 40 100 22,510 200 180 160 140 120 100 Moveable high performance Swing Nose crossings Weldable into-track cast Manganese crossings With cast inserts Weldable into-track cast manganese crossings, prehardened Compound crossings with manganese-point and head Hardened wing and vee rails Fabricated crossings, bolted or with welded main and counter point annual load [MGT] axle load [t] speed[km/h] Crossing Types & Application
  21. 21. Manganese Nose Head Hardened Wing Rails SG iron Or Steel Blocks Head Hardened Heel Rails Flash Butt Welded To Manganese Nose Huck Bolts Elements of Compound Crossing
  22. 22. Standard Carbon Or Head Hardened Rail Manganese Insert Machined Top And Bottom Graduated Explosive Discharge Hardened Flash Butt Welded Heel Rails To Manganese Insert Submerged Arc Welded Heels SG Iron Blocks Huck Bolts Elements of Welded Heel Rail Bound Crossing
  23. 23. Base And Top Face Fully Machined Flash Butt Weld With VAE Austenitic Interface Process Graduated Explosive Depth Hardened Transition Faces All 4 legs welded onto casting The crossing assembly has no bolt holes Elements of Monoblock (JBM) Crossing
  24. 24.  Swing nose crossing designs are supplier specific  Very complex to design  Each manufacturer has developed a SNX to suit their own, and customer requirements  A swing nose crossing is dependent upon the loads, type of operating system and the sleeper geometry  Are used for specific requirements, heavy haul, noise reduction  Require special rollers  Require signalling interface Swing Nose Crossing Design (Moveable Point Frog)
  25. 25. Typical SNX Sections
  26. 26. Typical Swing Nose Crossing
  27. 27. Special Component Design  Material finishes:  Attention to detail  Ensuring all sharp edges are removed  Stress elimination  Development of new parts  Stress considerations  Finite element analysis  Risk assessment
  28. 28.  Materials used are very dependent upon the specification and the references to other Standards.  Manufacturers and suppliers must manufacture to the standards, specifications and certify their products.  Items such as: → Manganese castings with heat details and metallurgical tests. → Glued insulated joints with alignment and electrical testing. → Switch machines by serial numbers. → Operating rodding sets by compliance numbers. Material Specifications and Availability
  29. 29.  Currently R & D forms an important part of the manufacturing process  Most new proposals are submitted by manufacturers to improve performance or reduce costs (life cycle costing)  Where new products and proposals are offered the manufacturer becomes responsible to provide all the technical documentation, manuals and on site training  Type approvals and associated documentation  There are also on-going programs to improve the performance of existing products Research & Development in Manufacturing
  30. 30.  Ongoing developments occurring:  Reduction in Life cycle costs in new and existing products  Rail metallurgy and hardness investigations  Component developments (Plating, switch rollers, snx rollers)  Improved manufacturing techniques THE ULTIMATE GOAL  Reductions in assembly and installation times, with reduced maintenance cycles LCC
  31. 31. Research & Development in Signalling  Points Machines  Operating Rodding  Locking Devices  Detection Systems  Hydraulic Systems  Monitoring Systems
  32. 32. Steel In-bearer Sleepers Spherolock operating system In-bearer switch machines Unistar Electro-Hydraulic Machine Improvements currently in Track These include:
  33. 33. Improvement of existing components: KGO
  34. 34. Manufacturers need to be addressing the future by the introduction of new technology as part their program For The Future:
  35. 35. Plug and Play Turnouts Turnout Panels Delivered Directly to Site For The Future:
  36. 36. For The Future: The Complete System
  37. 37.  Cutting and Drilling  Bending / Pressing  Machining (Planing / Milling & CNC)  Fabrication & welding of components  Specialised processes  Assembly of some components  QA checking of components & assemblies  Dispatch documentation Introduction of the Manufacture Processes:
  38. 38. Typical cutting, drilling & bending drawing:
  39. 39. Cutting Typical Rail Saw
  40. 40.  Adjustable positioning supports  Centre pressing with hydraulic rams  Performance is dependent upon operator experience Press Drill Typical Bending Press 200 Tonne Capacity  Hydraulic Clamping  Laser measuring of rails  Drilling tools with inserts  Air or lubricant cooled Hydraulic Drilling Machine
  41. 41.  The original method of machining long lengths  The process is time consuming  Additional time is used for positioning & clamping of setups  May require a number of setup changes  Drilling and milling must be scheduled to be done on other machines Planing and Machining
  42. 42. Switches / Stockrail CNC Machining Multi Axis Head CNC Machines CNC Machining and Milling (Modern Progression)
  43. 43.  Specialised tooling requirements for CNC milling machines:  Designed and manufactured to suit respective machines  Most tools have a large number of inserts  For switch machining two tools can be used Machine Tooling
  44. 44. Single Head CNC Machining Dual Head CNC Machining CNC Machining Videos
  45. 45.  Machining of manganese castings  Machining of block sets for switches and crossings  Machining of crossing rails and guarding rails Other CNC Machining Capabilities
  46. 46. Machining of Cast Crossings
  47. 47.  Large numbers of fabricated plates  Many are individual  Standard plates are made in jigs or from cast material  All others are fabricated  Plating checks to ensure all plates are stamped correctly and made to drawings Plating Manufacture
  48. 48.  Assembled on Jigs  Plating assembled in position  Rollers added (If required)  Switch fit & dimensional tolerances checked  Operating equipment checked (If required) Switch fit check Switch Assembly Checking
  49. 49.  Welds checks identified in Green  Switch identification tags  Completion & sign off of switch quality documents Switch Complete
  50. 50. Important factors for checking crossings:  Alignment  Crossing length  Flangeway width and depth  Throat openings  End openings  Nose Ramping / Transfer areas  Block fit up and glued (if necessary)  Plates fitted and in correct position Crossing Checking
  51. 51.  The crossing is assembled on plates  Check sheets are completed during the inspection and signed off by foreman RBM Crossing Checking and Inspection
  52. 52. Compound Crossing Welded Heel RBM Crossing Monoblock Crossing Compound Crossing Welded Heel RBM Crossing Compound Crossing Welded Heel RBM Crossing Compound Crossing Welded Heel RBM Crossing Compound Crossing Completed Crossings
  53. 53. Swing Nose Crossings Completed Crossings
  54. 54. Completed Turnout Trial Assembly 60kg Turnout on concrete with RBM and guardrails
  55. 55. Completed Turnout Trial Assembly - Operation 68kg Switch Assembly on concrete with inbearers, M23A Machine and rodding
  56. 56.  Forging of Asymmetric rail to standard rail sections  Forging of rail to different rail sections (junction rails)  Explosive depth hardening of manganese castings  Hardening of non head hardened rails  Flash Butt welding → Rail to Rail welding → Rail to rail with manganese → Vee rails to manganese Specialised Process’s Associated with Manufacture
  57. 57. Forged Rail Lengths Up to 60 Metres Forging
  58. 58. Procedures for EDH hardening  Casting setout on course surface base  Glue sheet explosive to casting  Explode casting  Process can be done up to 3 times (3 shots)  Check hardness is within 350 to 415 BHN  Check casting for any damage or cracks Explosive Hardening Used specifically for manganese as manganese has good work hardening properties, but an initial low hardness (220 BHN)
  59. 59. Explosive Hardening
  60. 60. Flash Butt Welding
  61. 61. Flash Butt Welding Video
  62. 62. Manufacturing:  Subcomponents and plating assembly checksheets  Fitting and assembly of major components  Assembling and checking to specified tolerances  Material traceability Logistics, Dispatch and Documentation  Packing and dispatch documents  Logistics documentation and delivery  Weights and craning points Dispatch & Documentation
  63. 63.  Routine testing  Sample welds done periodically  Bend tests  Metallurgical testing  All Welds stored electronically Flash Butt Weld Testing
  64. 64.  Magnetic Particle Testing  Hand Welds  Dye Penetrant Testing  Sub Arc Welds / Flash Butt Welds  Ultrasonic Testing  Level 1 & Level 2 testingTesting of FBW Non Destructive Testing
  65. 65.  Provided an understanding of the core elements in the manufacture and fabrication of turnouts  The involvement of contractors and Railway systems to achieve a positive outcome for the supply of turnouts into the rail industry  Turnout manufactures are trying to deliver the most suitable, cost effective solution over the lifecycle of the product