The worldwide rail industry is in high demand with both passenger and freight trains scheduled to busy timetables across the network. Busy schedules mean reduced opportunities to inspect and maintain railway track and train components. The challenge is for ultrasonic inspection to detect defects early enough to allow planned removal of lines and maintenance of trains to prevent speed restrictions and breakdowns, whilst complying with stringent safety standards.
Ultrasonics is the most extensively used NDT inspection method within the rail industry. Material testing for surface and internal defects can detect, locate, evaluate, and diagnose discontinuities. Wall Thickness Measurement or Corrosion Mapping provides remaining (residual) thickness measurement and evaluates the dimensions of the rail component or surface.
Advantages of Ultrasonic Inspection:
- Safe and Economical method
- Can detect most defect types
- Produces instant reliable data
- Data provides information to predict and prevent unscheduled maintenance
- Improves safety and reduction of broken rails
- Improves probability of detection (POD)
- Facilitates defect management
- Supports rail life prediction and risk modelling (when combined with other tools)
Ultrasonic Rail Inspection
Ultrasonic Rail Inspection can be split into manual testing and trainborne testing; which is carried out by an ultrasonic test unit (UTU). Early detection of rail defects is desired to facilitate cost-effective removal or provide enough warning to plan for a possession of track. As a trusted supplier to the rail industry, Phoenix ISL offer a range of transducers and accessories that are approved for use within the rail industry. A number of scanning solutions have also been developed for the inspection of train axles:
Train Axles – External Inspection
ACFM Axle Scanner
The Alternating Current Field Measurement Scanner or ACFM Axle scanner was manufactured by Phoenix ISL to enable axle inspections both on and off rail stock and can inspect surfaces without the need for paint removal. Alternating Current Field Measurement or ACFM is an electromagnetic inspection technique that introduces an alternating current into the surface of a component to detect surface-breaking or ‘fatigue’ cracks. The ease of deployment enables the ACFM scanner to be used in rail depots, on wheels removed from train bogies, to screen for defects in axles before they threaten the integrity of vehicles. A full axle inspection can be performed in just two minutes using the semi-automated system, which requires no prior inspection experience by train personnel.
Hollow Train Axles – Bore Inspection
Axle Bore Scanner
For the inspection of hollow train axle, this solution is compact, portable, and easy to set-up so enables the inspection of train axles, in-situ, by a single operator. Available in manual or automated configurations, the scanner can inspect axle bores from Ø25mm to Ø110mm by changing the probe head to the appropriate diameter. Both the automated and manual versions can inspect bores of any length by attaching lances to give the required stroke length. The automated version has two motorised axes to permit axial and circumferential motion through the bore either by Helical, Helicoidal or Raster scan patterns.
Inspection of axles and wheel bearing housings
Axle Bore Positing Tool
A manual scanner to accurately position and move a large custom phased array probe onto a wide range of axles and wheel bearing housings to provide an encoded 360° inspection of the surface.
The tool comprises of a universal mounting ring to provide axial movement to position the transducer as required and features axial guiding slides, switchable magnetic mounting feet and a spring-loaded probe holder.
If our existing product range does not meet your exact requirements, we can modify an existing system or custom design a new solution.
RISQS Verified Supplier
The RISQS assurance scheme is run by the rail industry under the stewardship of RSSB. RISQS remains central to the safe and cost-effective procurement of railway products and services providing assurance for buyers to do business with confidence with verified suppliers. Phoenix ISL is a fully verified company on the RISQS supplier assurance scheme (ID 2278) to supply ‘NDT Inspection Equipment’ and ‘Materials and Parts (fixed infrastructure plant)’.
Certificate of Qualification
Custom Design Solutions
Can’t find a solution that suits your rail inspection requirements?
If our current solutions do not meet your exact requirements, we can modify an existing system or design a completely new customised solution for your needs, should the situation demand. Contact us with a brief outline of your NDT inspection requirements and we can provide an initial proposal for a solution that best suits your needs. Or call to discuss rail inspection requirements.
Tel: +44 (0) 1925 826000