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"Railcar Wheels Subsurface Defect Monitoring Using Ultrasonics" Webinar Recording

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This webinar focuses on a specific high-speed application of automated ultrasonic testing in the railroad industry. Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) sponsored by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) has researched, helped develop, and tested an automated cracked wheel detection system (ACWDS) capable of inspecting railcar wheels on moving trains. The system implements arrays of spring-loaded ultrasonic probes aligned within a segment of a special track. Validation of the system was performed using the heavy axle load (HAL) test train (consisting of about 120 cars, each car weighing 39-ton axle load). This train operates nightly at the high tonnage loop (HTL) located at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST), TTC near Pueblo, CO, and accumulates service wear at a rapid rate.

Learn how biweekly inspections using the automated cracked wheel detection system (ACWDS) were performed to detect wheel defects and, once the wheels were alarmed, conventional handheld UT tests were conducted to confirm the ACWDS findings. To date, the verification hand scans have been in close agreement with the ACWDS reports. Some of these wheels were tracked over time to gain insight into crack growth rates. Others were removed if deemed a safety risk to operations.

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