Client: Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF)
The high-speed railways rails are joined together by means of an aluminothermic welding, carried out “in situ” during the construction of the railway track.
ADIF, the Spanish state-owned railway infrastructure manager, had to define a high standard of quality for the homologation of their aluminothermic welding suppliers aluminotérmicas. The information available, based on previous experience, was limited and diffuse. In addition, the technical and economical difficulties of carrying out tests on real rails has led the client to consult IBERTEST for a possible solution.
The customer’s Technical Managers and Railway engineers had a meeting with the Technical Department of IBERTEST to conduct the initial approach, in which it was stated that the best option would be to design a mechanical simulation system of the actual working conditions of the rail.
Solution provided by IBERTEST
IBERTEST designed, manufactured and executed the commissioning of a servo-hydraulic system equipped with a mechanical testing frame with a capacity of 1000 kN dynamic acting, designed to simulate the passing of the train son the rail welding. This machine allows to perform an accelerated fatigue test, with a load capacity of 100 tonnes at a frequency of 10 Hz (10 times per second).
The installation was completed with a test frame for static bending, 2000 kN capacity, to test steel rails up to breakage. This testing frame took advantage of the hydraulic unit of the previous installation optimizing the existing existing resources.
The machines are currently installed in the Railway Technology Centre of Valladolid (Centro de Tecnología de Vía de Valladolid).
No failures or malfunctions have been reported so far, even under demanding and intensive workloads.
Conclusions and extrapolation
Accelerated testing provides the customer with detailed information at first hand, allowing reliable verification of the quality stated by its suppliers, resulting in better quality control and a significant increase in safety for railways transport.