Special Rig To Improve Rail Fleet Performance

Published: Wed 14 Nov 2007 10:13 AM
Special Rig To Improve Rail Fleet Performance
A $100,000 traction motor commercial test rig recently purchased by Toll Rail is expected to significantly improve the reliability and performance of the rail operator’s locomotive fleet.
The first such equipment to be seen in New Zealand, the rig was built and commissioned by United Group in Australia under licence from General Electric and has been installed at the company’s Hutt Workshops (Wellington).
United Group electrical components production manager Rob Gordon said the reliability of traction motors could now be fully proven in the workshop.
“In the past we effectively had to test our motors by putting them into service, where a failure would potentially cost thousands of dollars in lost hours and recovery costs,” he said.
“The testing rig enables us to exert stresses on the motor under controlled conditions that are then compared to original equipment manufacturer specifications. The motor rebuild, its electrical performance and the bearings are all tested as part of the process to give assurance that the motor will perform well in service.
“We are really adding benefit to Toll Rail’s processes, because we are effectively giving them a run-in motor.”
Toll Rail group general manager Joe Garbellini said the purchase continues his organisation’s drive to improve the reliability of its locomotive fleet.
“In reviews we have had with United Group, one of the issues that was clearly highlighted was that in other parts of the world, traction motors are fully tested before they are put into operation. We saw this as an initiative that would give us a clear improvement in performance.
“A big focus of our growth in the last 12 months or so has been the domestic market. A key factor there, when we are competing against road options, is to make sure our reliability is at the highest level and we achieve on-time performance,” said Mr Garbellini.

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