Skip to main content

Increasing capacity targets in rail transport require a highly available infrastructure. However, increasing capacity utilization means that only a few hours are available for track maintenance. We support our customers not only with innovative rail steels to improve system performance but also with simulation-based optimization of wheel-rail contact.

A rail with a higher wear resistance will be more stable in the profile and therefore will remain in the design state for a much longer time. This will help to improve the curving behavior and ensure good curving for a very long time without the need for maintenance.

Lukas Prettner, Head of Track Systems

Depending on the track layout, the vehicles used, the existing contact pairing, and other factors, the following rail damage mechanisms can affect operational safety and availability:

  • Wear
  • RCF (rolling contact fatigue)
  • Slip wave formation
  • Fatigue damage
  • Noise

Wheel wear is not affected by increasing rail hardness. However, the wheel-rail pairing does affect wheel mileage and track life.

Literature Review TU Graz, 2022

Our solutions for best results

All of the above mechanisms can be influenced by the wheel-rail system. To achieve the best possible results, we use the following advanced tools in our optimization projects:

  • System analysis of different vehicles, running gear types, wheel conditions and infrastructure, analysis of results in cross section tables for system operators and infrastructure planners.

  • Measuring and testing equipment such as longitudinal and transverse profile gauges, eddy current technology, ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle and liquid penetrant testing, roughness and hardness testing.

  • Accredited laboratory for destructive testing of rails and wheels to analyze the depth and causes of damage.

  • Use of SIMPACK software to map vehicle-track behavior, identification of optimization potential.

  • Development of models to describe the interaction of components in ballasted and slab tracks, selective adaptation to specific requirements.

  • Recording of dynamic phenomena with strain gauges, acceleration and displacement sensors to validate models and prove the effectiveness of measures.

  • Investigate stresses and deformations on track components at various levels of detail to provide critical data for submodeling and strength analysis.

  • Application of many years of research to analyze the damage behavior of different steels to make specific statements about mechanisms such as wear or cracking and to evaluate the effects of modification measures.