The Intelligence behind Wheel Flange Lubrication

Metal fatigue, screeching noises, wheel wear, these are but a few issues that are facing the traction industry.

To combat these issues and prevent derailments, wheel flange lubrications are used. Current methods of train borne and track-mounted lubrication systems do not promote effective use of lubrication exactly when and where it is required or simply not at all.

However, our award-winning Intelligent Wheel Flange Lubrication (iWFL) is different. The iWFL is a train-borne dispensing system which applies precise amounts of biodegradable lubricant to create a smooth contact between the wheels and the rail. Engineered and in operation for both national rail and tram networks, the iWFL improves safety by greatly reducing both wheel and track wear.

How we’ve designed the iWFL

The iWFL has been designed to apply lubricants specifically when and where it is required and in the right amounts, enabling it to be technically effective and economic. Its intelligent design senses the location and intensity of track curves using a combination of GPS signals and speed and distance sensors. The unit then processes the data and, only where it is required, is the lubricant applied to the wheel’s flanges.

The iWFL system is relatively simple to install. It is an under-train application and can be a retro-fitted to the vehicle. Using the tram or train’s existing (or a dedicated) antenna for GPS signals means there is a minimum of disruption to the train infrastructure.

In addition to the iWFL, the use of top of the rail friction modifiers (ToRFM) can work in conjunction with one another to increase safety and reduce noise. (ToRFM) is a customised friction modifier system that applies a friction modification grease to the top of the rail track. This combination means that both the top of the rail track and the wheel’s flanges are sprayed with an exact amount of lubricant needed.

The use of iWFL and ToRFM work to extend service and maintenance intervals, reducing downtime and costs, and most importantly, improve safety.