Project Objectives

The project’s scientific and technical objectives are primarily to produce two new inspection instrument prototypes, one for solid railway axles and one for hollow railway axles. These instruments are to allow inspection without any wheelset disassembly required other than the removal of the axle end caps.

The technical objectives are:

Objective 1:

Develop and produce an instrument to detect transverse cracking on the critical areas of a solid axle, and in particular the wheel seat and neighbouring areas whilst the axle is assembled in its wheelset and bogey.

The instrument should be capable of being portable enough to be used on site, and in an inspection station at depots. The instrument should be detecting cracks of the order of 1mm-3mm long. Including end cap assembly and disassembly each axle inspection time should be completed within 2 hours.

The techniques, systems and technology needed to realise this objective include:

  • Model, develop and produce 2D annular PAUT probe
  • Develop electronics and software for controlling the inspection instrument
  • Integrate PAUT probe, software and electronic modules

Objective 2:

Develop and produce an instrument to inspect hollow axles using a combined rotating UT and EM probes end effector. The instrument should be capable of easy installation in an inspection station. The device should be able to detect cracks of 3mm deep anywhere within the axle, and should complete an inspection for the full length of the axle within 1 hour.

The techniques, systems and technology needed to realise this objective include:

  • Model, develop and produce combined UT and EM probe
  • Develop a mechanised fixture and jig to rotate the combined UT and EM probe in bore of the hollow axle
  • Develop and produce data fusion software that will combine UT and EM results to give 100% inspection capability
  • Develop electronics and software for controlling the inspection instrument
  • Integrate UT and EM probe, software and electronic modules