Standard Steel, Burnham, PA, is North America’s only manufacturer of forged steel wheels and axles various sizes for the freight, locomotive, and passenger/ transit railway markets.
Modern passenger train cars require forged steel wheels, to meet enhanced safety requirements. These wheels are shot-peened to a specified industry standard for improved resistance to fatigue cracking under rolling stresses. Shotpeening prolongs the service life of the wheels.
Standard Steel was operating two Wheelabrator shot peening machines, and in 2004 began discussions about replacing the equipment. It wanted an up-to-date, maintenancefriendly system that would elevate their daily production prorcess,particularly one of its older shot-peening systems.
After analyzing their needs and holding discussions with Wheelabrator technicians and engineers, and considering the facility’s existing infrastructure, Standard Steel chose a new, two-wheel shot peening machine. In 2007, when Standard was increasing its production volume in response to significant demand, it placed another order for a duplicate system.
Forged wheels are loaded by forklift onto a declining rail entrance conveyor. The operator manually controls the opening to the blast cabinet, where the forged wheels — positioned upright — are rotated in front of two blast wheels for 45-50 seconds. The EzeFit blast wheels “peen” both sides simultaneously with S660 hardened steel shot. At the end of the peening cycle, the exit doors open allowing the forged wheel to be pushed onto an exit rail conveyor. There, the same forklift operator retrieves the peened wheel, taking it to its inspection stage.
Equipped to run for multiple shifts, the machine’s production capacity is approximately 60 forged wheels/per hour.
“The two machines have not only significantly reduced maintenance costs, but also have reduced downtime and have easily kept pace with an approximate 30% increase in wheel productivity,” stated Jeffrey Richardson, Standard Steel project manager. Both machines continue to be important contributors to the forger’s daily operations to meet customers’ cleaning requirements.