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Technology Update on “Solid Lube Stick Wheel Flange Lubrication System”

By on September 13, 2014

Objective:

The objective of this technical update is to introduce “Solid lube stick type Wheel Flange Lubricating (WFL) System” in Indian Railways to prove the importance of WFL, which can give the following benefits:

  1. Energy Saving in Electric rolling stock up to 5%
  2. Fuel saving in Diesel Rolling Stock up to 5%
  3. Wheel wear reduction up to 50%
  4. Rail wear reduction up to 25%
  5. Reduction in noise up to 20%

All the above data has been proved in the American test labs TTCI several times as well as on the field and we are sure that, if this equipment is introduced in IR in mass then IR would be able to save a lot not only in terms of their wheel and Rail wear but a considerable amount of energy as well, which is approx.. 5%.

Why WFL trials were not successful in India and why IR could not use it so far?

Indian Railways has already conducted many field trials in past with various types of oil and grease based WFL System from many Indian and foreign companies at different point of time in past 2 – 3 decades, but after every trials, WFL never proved to be successful for one or the other reasons and field trials could never reach a conclusive stage for several reasons identified in the following paras.

The trials were conducted on few equipment on selected locomotive due to which the actual benefit of WFL could not be established as the WFL only produces the desired results only when it is fitted in the entire Rolling stocks.

Earlier trials were done with oil or grease based WFL systems, which were quite complicated having lot of electronics & pneumatic connections where oil or grease used to spray at regular intervals on the flange of the wheel through nozzles, which were mounted all over the bogies.

Nozzles & pneumatic pipelines used to get damaged due to stone hitting, resulting into the spillage of oil on the track making it wheel slip prone, which used to make the tracks and sheds dirty and oily and due to this reasons, this equipment was considered as too much maintenance oriented item.

The capital cost of the oil / grease based equipments were also quite huge so both manufacturer or Railway could never take the decision to conduct the field trials on the entire fleet of one dedicated section like Kolkata Metro, KK line, MRTS of SR Chennai etc. in which the whole Rolling stocks remains only in their dedicated section.

We tried to analyze the reason that if WFL is so successful world over then why it is not proving to be successful in India and why after every trial nobody in IR was ever convinced to provide it on the Indian Railways Rolling stocks.

Why WFL is successful elsewhere?

Surveys and studies in many countries world over have concluded very strongly in favour of use of WFL because it is used in 100% Rolling stocks, which is saving lot of energy, wheel wear, rail wear and reduction of noise pollution on the tracks.

In many countries in and around USA, Canada, Mexico and many countries in Europe, WFL is a must fit item in all the 100% Rolling stocks and rather GE and GM EMD are required to fit WFL as OE item in their all the locomotives.

Even when the Indian Railways (IR) imported the 3 phase locomotives from Adtranz and AC/DC Diesel locomotives from GM EMD, all the originally supplied locomotives were fitted with WFL system, which were later removed by IR as these could not be maintained.

Solid Stick WFL System:

Due to the power shortage and due to steep rise in Diesel prices in the country, it is a time that IR should think of introducing solid stick type WFL system into their Rolling stocks in mass, which is clean, easy to install, very less capital cost, environment friendly and maintenance free equipment, which is already proven not only in the developed country but already running successfully in all the major metros in India like DMRC, CMRL, BMRCL etc.

The WFL transfers a very thin film of the lubrication through the thermally stable polymeric matrix to the wheel flange and the bonding to the wear surface, which ensures the low co-efficient of friction (0.1 mm).

Dry solid lubricant is applied to the wheel flange and with no impact upon traction or braking. The WFL solid sticks are also sometime referred as Low Coefficient Friction (LCF) sticks.

Several companies are making this type of solid lube sticks but the composition of everybody is different and the best one is from the one, which gives the best lubrication with long life, which results into the ultimate saving of energy and wheel / rail life.

In continuation to our philosophy to introduce the new technology products in the country, we would like to introduce a “solid stick type WFL system” from our partner from USA called Synder Equipment Co. Inc, who has developed the solid lube stick type WFL system more than 3 decades back and now respected as the market leader and OE supplier of GM and GE.

Synder is using the special composition of dry solid lube stick known as “Soy”, which is far superior than any other solid lube stick available in the market, which is normally using Graphite based substance or Molybdenum.

The WFL systems based on Graphite and Molybdenum are also not environmental friendly as both these substances are not biodegradable and their long term use may involve an environmental hazards. Besides both these materials is also hard material, which leaves the deep traces on the flanges, thereby reducing its overall life.

Soy Lube Sticks” have less wear rate up to 2/3rd than other solid stick available in the market besides being cost effective.

Soy Lube Stick is available in the size of 81⁄2 long sticks in one piece so there is no wastage till the end of the stick is reached. The solid sticks are loaded in the applicators which are spring loaded and it exerts a constant pressure on the wheel flange as shown in the picture below:

soylubestick

Author: P. K. Agarwal

Mr Agarwal is CEO, PPS International, an ISO 9001 company, established in year 2003, brings high technology products of reputed global companies for Rail Sector - Indian Railways, Metros and for Industries of India.

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There Are 2 Comments

  1. Natarajan. R says:

    Hope you are looking for Solid Lube Stick for your WFL system. We have the technology to manufacture Solid Stick Lube as per your requirement. Kindly send us your requirements to our email mentioned above
    And also to the mail mentioned below.
    sayeetech @gmail.com
    Thanking you,
    With regards,
    R.Natarajan,
    SAYEE ALUCAST INFOTEC
    CHENNAI

  2. Janudins says:

    BMAenergy Sdn Bhd is Engineering & Services register with KTMB in Malaysia, currently we are looking all types spares part for ETS train. Meantime we sourcing the LCF SOLID FLANGE LUBRICATING
    STICKS FOR ELECTRIC TRAIN SET (ETS) CLASS 93.with the big volume.

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