At InnoTrans, held in Berlin from 20 to 23 September 2016, REX Articoli Technici SA (hall 2.2, booth 207) will be unveiling its innovative rubber wheelset support pads for the railway industry.

The Swiss manufacturer of rubber and thermoplastics has developed a long-lasting, robust alternative to customary wooden frames. The wheelsets are magnetically fastened to rubber boots that securely hold them in place during transport or storage. The product has been successfully tested in operation and will be available on the market starting from September 2016.

Railway companies like Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB) store and transport thousands of wheelsets as spare parts for their trains. In Switzerland alone, there are more than 3,500 sets of wheels in storage in service and production facilities. They usually rest on wooden frames or blocks that soon show signs of wear due to the heavy weight. Besides high replacement rates, broken blocks of wood are a safety hazard during transport.

Accordingly, the main prerogative for the product development at REX was high stability. Textile fibres reinforce the vulcanised rubber for maximum longevity. The special material formula also ensures that the holders maintain their shape despite high pressure.

REX’s product fits wheelsets of all sizes, since all common diameters have been taken into account for its design. Magnets on both sides of the rubber boot keep the wheelset securely in place. The magnets are protected against corrosion and can easily be replaced if necessary. In addition, the wheelsets can also be fastened to the boot by means of lashing straps.

Due to its compact size and secure fasting, the wheelset holder facilitates the handling during transport. In contrast to wooden pallets, the rubber boot can remain mounted on the wheelset while it is transported on a forklift, loaded onto or unloaded from a train. When the rubber boot is not in use, it requires only a minimum of storage space. This also makes it a flexible solution for temporary storage.

The product’s effectiveness has been verified in field tests in cooperation with SBB in Switzerland. The wheelset holder has also proven to reliably hold its load in place on carriages during shunting manoeuvres under varying weather and surface conditions including snow or dew.