Technical Reports

Automated Rail Based Wheel Gauge- Phase I Report

  • 16
  • Jun
  • 1994
AUTHOR: Zahid F. Mian
SUBJECT: Evaluation
ABSTRACT: IEM personnel conducted face to face interviews with senior officials with three major transits and four Class I railroads. We also conducted extensive phone and mail surveys soliciting the opinion of representatives of all the Class I railroads, all major private car owners and all the leading rail transit operators. We also visited technical installations in North Platte, NB as well as NIST headquarters in Boulder, CO. We developed a comprehensive set of product performance specifications for the proposed gauge. In our evaluations of the various available technologies, we created working prototypes of actual wheel measurement systems utilizing ultrasonic and laser sensors. We wrote "C" language source code to convert the raw data into meaningful RR wheel measurements. We tested the various technologies for resolution, repeatability, and durability. We conclude that changes in the rail industry are creating an increasing need to automate the wheel inspection process. We find that a laser based wheel inspection station is capable of meeting the target performance requirements. While it is not presently feasible to create a comprehensive wheel inspection station identifying all wheel defects, a wheel inspection station that measures flange and rim wear would provided a significant contribution to the industry. We propose the creation of a such a station and propose as well that it incorporate a capacity to be upgraded to include crack detection and the identification of tread defects in the future.