Railway tracks are subjected to constant wear and damage. In order to increase traffic safety, rail service life, and to lower operating costs, rail profiles must be regularly maintained. It is for this reason that rail milling has been a buzz within the industry. But what is rail milling? And how will it affect our current grinding and abrasive technologies?
What is Rail Milling?
Milling machines are commonly used in Europe, Asia and Australia but are just making their way to North American markets. This technology uses wheels with carbide inserts (like teeth) to shave rails and remove imperfections and damage caused by excessive wheel-rail contact. Milling is an ideal fix for localized issues of irregularities that can cause safety or other work rail hazards. But milling can also be used for initial treatment of rails and cyclic-preventive tasks.
How Much can these machines remove?
The milling depth depends on the number of the cutting heads and machine size. These heads move in a single pass over the rail at between 0.5 and 1.5 mph. Milling machines can remove as little as 0.1mm and up to 5 mm from the rail head (top of rail) and up to 7 mm from the gage corner, on the inside of a rail, in a single pass. Certain adjustments are being made to rail milling machines in order to assure that they can work up to standard on North American lines.
Can’t I Just Use a Grinder?
It is important to note that milling is not in place of grinding, but that the two can be used in conjunction with one another in order to keep rails up to regulation. While Grinding machines use abrasive stones to treat long track distances in a preventive mode, >milling is used in projects that require medium to high metal removal in a precise and faster manner. The use of a grinding machine or milling machine depends on the specific project at hand and what will repair the rail in the safest and most accurate method. One great benefit of rail milling is that there are virtually no sparks and no dust emitted during the process. The only by-product, the milling chips, are collected onboard the machine to be recycled. This makes the technology ideal to be used in tunnels and closed environments.
- Single pass reprofiling of the rail head
- Plain turnout processing of both tracks and turnouts (switches)
- New rail profiling
- Preventative maintenance and regenerative/corrective repairs
- Noise reduction in sensitive areas
- Gauge correction
- High-speed refurbishment
- Removal of rail head defects in the transverse and longitudinal profiles
- Improvement of running smoothness and wear minimization
- Rail profile change-over
- Complete processing in a single pass
- Individual material removal from 0.1 to 5 mm (top of rail)
- Environmentally friendly procedure, no pollution through
- No grinding dust – clean process
- No flying sparks – no risk of fire
- Can be used in sensitive areas
- Dry machining, no water required
- No removal of track switching equipment required
- Can be used all year round
- High precision
Who makes Milling Machines?
It is because of this potential, that Industry-Railway Suppliers has partnered with LINSINGER Maschinenbau Gesellschaft m.b.H. LINSINGER has a tradition of more than 70 years as a global leader in milling and sawing technology. Their history in the global markets as a rail milling leader makes them uniquely able to adjust to the North American market.