Uni could help set Australian standard for rail lubrication
Published on 30 August, 2011
CQUniversity research could help set the standard for rail lubrication across Australia, following acknowledgement from industry leaders and consideration by the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB).
The RISSB is responsible for development and management of rail industry standards, rules, codes of practice and guidelines, all of which have national application. All new standards produced by the RISSB are published as Australian Standards.
Professor Gopinath Chattopadhyay and his team are helping to optimise rail asset performance
The push to establish a rail industry lubricant baseline product has come after a rail industry workshop presentation by CQUniversity's Professor Gopinath Chattopadhyay, who leads the 'rail grease' research from Gladstone Campus.
Professor Chattopadhyay reported that of the five lubricants tested, one stood 'head and shoulders' above the others.
Rail industry leaders are now discussing how a new 'standard' would save the industry a lot of money, by preventing use of less efficient lubricants.
Placement of correct lubricators at the right location and applying effective lubricants can improve rail/wheel life, save energy and reduce noise.
Professor Chattopadhyay says that reducing the need to access lubricators frequently for inspection and maintenance is also a high priority from a safety perspective.
"Poor lubricants and inefficient lubrication techniques are a cost to rail organisations due to increased wheel and/or rail replacement," he says.
"CQUniversity, Queensland Rail and QR National have conducted tests to measure the effectiveness of different lubricants, remote performance monitoring technology, and different lengths of lubricator bars.
"Outcomes of this research are expected to help the rail industry select effective lubricants, accurately place lubricators, plan maintenance cycles and address lubricators not working or functioning properly."
Asset performance is a complex issue, some aspects of which are not yet fully understood in the Australian heavy haul railway context.
Professor Gopinath Chattopadhyay is heading up five CRC for Rail Innovation projects which are making real headway towards providing the industry with best practice in rail grinding, curve lubrication, wheel life management and bridge life cycle management.
The solutions of these projects will contribute to greater asset life and better maintenance decisions.