This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 3 2021.
Shot blasting and peening are central to railway manufacturing and refurbishing, with everything from wheels to whole carriages requiring cleaning or surface enhancement. Compared to manual working with power tools, shot blast machines (air or wheel blast) offer incredible productivity combined with predictable quality.
Blasting lots of complex parts is a challenge that Wheelabrator helps operators like SNCF meet. Whether you’re cleaning new railway lines or peening springs, processing lots of small components or just a few large ones, there is a solution to fit. Here’s a round-up of typical applications and the state-of-the-art technologies available to handle them.
Shot blasting is the most efficient way to descale new tracks as they leave the factory and to clean up used ones prior to other operations like profile regrinding or milling.
Roller conveyor wheel blast machines rapidly clean rails in a continuous feed-through process, either as a standalone unit or integrated into a larger production line. Wheelabrator offers many roller conveyors for different applications and work speeds, with the Type G a popular choice with large operators like Deutsche Bahn.
The Type G handles through-feed widths from 600mm to 3m, with up to eight blast wheels ensuring full coverage of every part of the rail profile.
Wheelsets define safety-critical components; regular inspection and periodic refurbishment are vital. Shot blasting provides a fresh, clean metal surface for ultrasonic or magnetographic crack detection, as well as the correct surface roughness for grip on the rail.
Wheelabrator's digital tool uses software to enable energy-efficient shot blasting, allowing operators to see how much energy is being used.
Use the form opposite to get in touch with Wheelabrator directly to discuss any requirements you might have.