Rolling stock axle box lubricant analyses
Axle boxes are a key rolling stock component. They may at times be liable to overheating in the event of internal lubricant failure, and this may trigger a ‘hot box’ alarm and, in some extreme cases, breakage of the axle journal, derailment, etc.
Following several alarms of this type, our experts were called in to investigate the problem. By establishing changes over time in the grease characteristics it is possible to identify the causes of failure. Investigations culminated in improvements to axle box maintenance, a drop in the frequency of hot box incidents and a reduction in the cost of dismantling the parts in question.
The AEF laboratory team can boast many years of experience in working with lubricants, greases and oils, and has a whole range of techniques at its disposal for characterising these types of product in service. They perform various tests to establish the reasons and find the explanations for lubricant failure. They can determine the dropping point (chemical failure of the thickening agent), pinpoint any oxidation and antioxidant levels (overheating of the lubricant), identify the wear metals (component wear) and measure water content (outside pollution).
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