ADHERE Webinar 2: Innovative Rail Cleaning Technologies
On 2 April 2020, RSSB hosted an international webinar to promote novel rail cleaning solutions. The webinar disseminated research undertaken within the ADHERE programme and led by the University of Sheffield, The Imagination Factory, and CoCatalyst and also featured a presentation from Laser Precision Solutions, an SME with its headquarters in the Netherlands.
With over 100 attendees, the second ADHERE webinar was a great success. The virtual dissemination provided the opportunity to four teams, three SMEs (Laser Precision Solutions; The Imagination Factory and CoCatalyst) and the University of Sheffield, to present their newly developed cleaning technologies for top of the rail, to a cross-industry audience in order to improve adhesion condition.
The University of Sheffield presented findings from their dry ice (cryogenic) rail cleaning trials, undertaken in partnership with Network Rail. The trials were undertaken on Road Rail Vehicles (RRVs) on five Network Rail routes in late 2019. The novel technology utilises cryogenic pellets to shock the contaminant layer that forms on rails, causing it to crack and de-bond (figure 1).
The Imagination Factory gave a presentation on its microwave generated plasma system which removes layers of railhead contamination, including rust, without causing damage to the track (figure 2).
CoCatalyst promoted Water-Trak, a system that dispenses a controlled volume of water in front of the leading axle of the train to enable an accelerated return to clean rail braking (figure 3).
The development of these three solutions was support by RSSB, Network Rail and InnovateUK.
The fourth presentation was by a Dutch company, Laser Precision Solutions. In their presentation they introduced ‘LaserTrain’, a high precision laser cleaning device successfully trialled on the Long Island Rail Road in the US (figure 4).
The panel included members of Network Rail and Network Rail Scotland. The lively question and answer discussions highlighted common themes and high-level opportunities that all four organisations should take into consideration. First, the need to develop a clear cost-benefit case based on the unique selling points of their propositions. Second, the environmental impact of each solution was discussed. Lastly, the effort required for the fitment of each solution.
If you are interested in discussing these project in more detail, please get in touch with RSSB and we will connect you with the relevant organisation.