Rail wheels are one of the most important moving parts for locomotives, coaches, wagons and EMUs. These wheels are subject to heavy stresses when in service and are prone to many surfaces as well as internal defects. Therefore the quality of wheels is crucial for the safety and smooth operations of locomotives.
Such quality checks are carried out by analyzing the wheels using non-destructive testing (NDT) equipment that can detect even minute flaws, scanning larger areas rapidly with ease. To accomplish this the analyst should be equipped with flexible & durable probes that can adjust with the shape of wheels easily, allowing them to perform inspections without removing the wheels from the assembly during the testing process.
Rail wheels are subject to some common defects such as,
1) Manufacturing Defects- Casting Defects, Improper Heat Treatment, Machining Imperfections. 2) Improper Assembly Practices- Change in dimensional tolerances, Ovality on Journals, Taper Journal, Difference in diameters of wheels and axle. 3) Normal wear & tear during service- Thin flange, deep flange, sharp flange, less radius at root flange, Hollow tyre, Thin tyre, Flat tyre.
One of the most effective NDT methods to inspect rail wheels is Eddy Current Array (ECA), which can detect surface aberrations with accuracy. ECA requires no surface preparation prior to an inspection, no chemicals and no electrical outlets. It is faster, easier and more flexible for inspecting the train wheels.
IXAR has been performing Eddy Current Testing (Eddy Current for Railways) for many years and accomplished the most prominent projects in India, have started NDT Services for Railways in January 2018 by deploying experts in Eddy Current Testing. Currently, IXAR has 10 RDSO-approved operators with 1 QAP Head and 3 technical executives to handle all operations. Currently, IXAR is conducting ECA for surface defect detection on LHB wheels at Mumbai Division.