Mistras Group
How to Access Proactive Train Axle Integrity Insights with Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing
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Source: Eddyfi Technologies
Anyone in the rail transportation sector understands exactly what is at stake not knowing the structural integrity of railroad assets regularly being deployed. Railroad car wheels are affixed to a straight solid axle and preventing the failure of these train axles is a key priority to avoid an accident. While the continued safe operation of the wheelsets is necessary for the rail industry, the challenge of inspecting train axles without disassembling the bogie and the axle is not an easy one. Here is the problem: one of the most prevalent defects encountered when performing a solid axle inspection is corrosion, an easily hidden culprit that can lead to transversal fatigue cracking and ultimately a potentially momentous disaster. There is simply no room for a haphazard assessment or not performing a comprehensive inspection for severe damage that could suddenly break the axle.

The Challenge

Detect train axle corrosion and cracks, particularly at the crack initiation stage, without having to remove the bogie.

Inspections focused on the detection of transversal fatigue cracks in train components like axles, even when the wheels are still mounted, are needed on a regular basis. Ultrasonic testing is the only technique able to cover the full volume of the train axle when the component is still in place with the wheels and the chassis. Unfortunately, a train axle features complex geometry that tends to generate echoes from its shape and using conventional ultrasonic testing usually requires several sets of wedges to ensure good coverage of the solid axles. The operator must be able to perform a correct scan that delivers reliable data that he or she feels completely confident in. In particular, the inspector must position the signals acquired at the correct location in the volume of the axle being inspected, not confusing echoes of real indications with echoes coming from the geometry. Once the data is collected, they must analyze the results in a quick and safe way, but in the end, it has been demonstrated that the probability of detection is not high enough to avoid dismantling the axle. Industry leaders seek a solution that would afford the obvious advantages inherent of an in-service train axle inspection.

Read about the solution at Eddyfi.com.

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