Bogie inspection & manipulation

26 April 2013


Lloyds Somers, a business specializing in the design and supply of handling and manipulation equipment to the rail industry, has developed its range of Bogie Rotators to accommodate the full fleet of bogies in use throughout the French Rail Network, writes Kizzi Nkwocha.

Handling and manipulation of bogies has traditionally been a complex and hazardous process but is an essential requirement when maintaining, inspecting and carrying out remedial work throughout the life of a bogie.

For inspection, maintenance and the servicing of bogies there will be a requirement to rotate the bogies, to ensure a thorough inspection is carried out, for non-destructive testing (NDT) purposes and to orientate the bogie in the most appropriate positions when carrying out weld repairs.

This has traditionally been achieved using overhead cranes and slinging around the bogies. However, this has been known to result in operators being present in potentially hazardous situations, as the bogie rotates over its top dead centre, causing side loadings on the hoist, damage to rope guides and so on. Therefore many rail vehicle producers and maintainers are now looking to carry out this necessary manipulation in a more controlled and safe manner.

The French Train Operator SNCF has chosen Lloyds Somers as their preferred supplier of bogie mManipulators with multiple sets being supplied to their maintenance facilities in Nevers, Romilly, Bischhiem (Strasbourg), Paris and Hellemenes. Each set is designed to suit the particular Depot requirements and to cater for the wide range of bogie chassis with the SNCF fleet of vehicles.

As no particular European norm exists for powered bogie rotation devices, the equipment is designed utilising the relevant design and safety standards for floor mounted lifting equipment (vehicle lifts) and BSEN 2573 parts 1 and 2 with regards to duty and utilisation ratings. All Lloyds Somers equipment is designed in accordance with the Machinery Directive and is CE marked.

The main lift system is via a self sustaining trapezoidal screw and nut system which includes safety nut back up plus lifting carriage tilt and overrun protection interlocks.

The Somers Rotators are equipped with a variety operator assistance devices, including WI-FI controls to minimise cabling requirements and allow the operator to work from a safe distance. The rotators are synchronised to operate between + or - 3 mm throughout their lifting stroke. The rotation is effected through a slew ring that is suitable for eccentric loading and connected via a 'floating' faceplate to accommodate any possible misalignment between bogie fixing points. In order to facilitate the large variety of bogie chassis the equipment has been purpose designed for quick change or adjustment of bogie interface brackets. Each installation has been assessed and signed off by DEKRA.

A variety of designs are available including static and mobile rotators based on the needs of the particular Depot.

Motorised Accommodation Bogies
Lloyds Somers are widely regarded as experts in the design and manufacture of bespoke lifting and handling equipment for the rail Industry. The company, a division of Lloyds British Testing, spends a great deal of its time developing products which assist with both the maintenance and original build of rail vehicles. To this end, Lloyds Somers has designed and developed a range of powered accommodation bogies.

Accommodation bogies are usually manufactured to a set height depending upon their purpose. For example when fitting roof or high level components to a train body the accommodation bogies tend to be short and conversely when fitting low level items such as wiring looms the accommodation bogies are tall.

To maximise efficiencies and minimise the need to transfer vehicle from one set of accommodation bogies to another, Somers has developed and supplied powered accommodation bogies which lift and lower the vehicle to any height during the process.

The Motorised Accommodation Bogies were originally designed and supplied to Alstom Transport specifically for the build of the Pendolino at their Washwood Heath facility whilst also considering other vehicles such as the Juniper and Coradia Vehicles designed by Alstom.

Lloyds Somers has utilised its experience and design knowledge from the rail vehicle lift jacks that it has supplied to the rail industry over many years. The company has also combined this with its experience in the design and manufacture of fixed height accommodation bogies to produce the Lloyds Somers Motorised Accommodation Bogie.

The accommodation bogies are used in pairs and incorporate the same controls, synchronisation, safety screw drive system and safety interlocks as utilised in the well proven Rail Vehicle Lifting Jacks.

When fitting roof or high level components to a train body the accommodation bogies tend to be short
Somers Floor Mounted Bogie Rotators with Motorised Adjustable Tailstock
Somers Mobile Bogie Rotators in use at SNCF Paris Le Landy Depot