Improving switches and crossings performance
Over the last decade, KampaBV has launched a series of innovative products that contribute to better railways. These products are very diverse and range from cable management to ecological solutions, and can be found on our website.
For Railtech Europe we would like to highlight a group of products that focus on improved performance and reduced maintenance of switches & crossings (S&C). S&C are among the most critical parts of the railway, not only in terms of safety, but also the availability of the track is very dependent on flawlessly functioning switches.
The first product highlighted is called DeltaSwitch. It solves an age-old problem faced by S&C: lubrication. In order to allow switch rails to move over their full length and prevent wear, sliding chairs used to have to be lubricated every two weeks. DeltaSwitch not only makes lubrication unnecessary, but even allows the switch rail to move better than the best lubricated switch.
This is achieved by a sophisticated pendulum block that only needs to be installed in one place per switch blade for the most commonly used switches. It uses gravity to move the switch rail into the desired position. Measurements have shown that the force to move the switch rail is reduced by approximately 15% compared to systems using rollers.
Over the past three years, this improvement has been implemented at more than 1,000 switch blades.
In S&C with longer switch rails, a common problem is that the rail does not become sufficiently clear of the stock rail. Although this is improved by using DeltaSwitch, it may be insufficient to prevent the risk of being hit by train wheels. The latter is a danger because it can cause unexpected fatigue problems with the point machine.
With switch rails that are long and have insufficient lateral stiffness, it is desirable to introduce a second point machine to prevent problems. However, this is an expensive measure and reduces track availability.
In many cases, it is much more cost-effective to opt for a back drive. BetaSwitch is such a mechanism that can also be used with S&C that are trailable. These are switches where the switch rails do not run synchronously and where the locking of the closed switch rail is released by forcing the closing of the open switch rail.
The application of BetaSwitch has several advantages. The configuration of the switch hardly changes and the mechanism and connecting rods are located in the heart of the track and above the bearers so that mechanical tamping and the usual inspection of the switch remains possible.
BetaSwitch has been tested and proven successful with 1:15 switches. Tests with the much more common 1:9 will follow soon.
A third innovation in the field of S&C is called AlphaSwitch. This is a completely newly developed point machine, with multipoint drive of the switch tongues. This excels in simplicity and uses very robust rotors with maintenance-free tapered bearings. The force diagram of the connecting rods is unique and improves the performance of the drive, without compromising safety.
If you would like to know more about our newly developed products, do not hesitate and visit us at our stand.