Reliability and precision of manufactured heavy-haul rail components make a big difference if it’s 20 below zero and you’re 1000 miles from home. Those are exactly the conditions that railcars equipped with components from Amsted Rail face every day rolling through the world’s most challenging environments on six continents. For more than 100 years, Amsted Rail, a part of Amsted Industries (Chicago), has earned its reputation as a leading global manufacturer of undercarriage and end-of-car railcar components for heavy-haul freight railcars and locomotives. Its track record innovating performance-driven solutions continues to push the limits for reliability, allowing railroads today to haul heavier loads over greater distances.
Amsted Rail manufactures everything from wheels, axles and bearings to brake systems, bogies, bolsters and more. The company confirms component design, manufacturing engineering and performance at technology and engineering test centers dedicated to bogie (truck) testing, bearing performance, and wheel engineering using the latest materials.
In 2014, Amsted Rail became aware that the existing chip conveyors used in its large steel part turning operations at its Petersburg, VA manufacturing facility were falling apart. The conveyors were constantly jamming up from having bushy stringers not being conveyed out of the units. From what Mark Vieira, machining process engineer, observed, the maintenance technicians were using a pipe wrench on the motor shaft to force the conveyor past the jam.
In search of a solution, Vieira attended the 2014 IMTS show in Chicago where he visited the Jorgensen Conveyors booth. He was introduced to Jorgensen’s Munchman II chip conveyor and learned how the workings of the conveyor system would help solve the issues the company was facing. The Munchman II employs a dual-belt conveyor arrangement that reduces or eliminates material conveyance and conveyor jamming problems. It’s well-suited to turning and milling operations where long, stringy and heavy chip volumes are generated. Vieira contacted a Jorgensen sales representative and started the process of putting the Munchman II chip conveyor into all of Amsted Rail’s Muratec twin-spindle turning centers from Murata Machinery USA Inc. (Charlotte, NC).
For Amsted Rail, Jorgensen Conveyors designed the coolant tank and chip conveyors for the Muratec MW 400 and MW 200 twin-spindle turning centers with the chip conveyor sitting down in the coolant tank to allow better chip carry out. The MW 400 has a 15″ (381-mm) chuck, and the MW 200 has a 10″ (254-mm) chuck. The twin-spindle CNC lathes provide significant flexibility for machine utilization by allowing machining for two identical processes, or for first and second operations.
The new configuration of the Jorgensen conveyors corrected a flaw in the positioning of the old conveyors, which were attached to the machine above the coolant tank. This allowed a lot of chips and debris to fall into the coolant tank. “We normally run 24/7, so the coolant tank would fill with chips and have to be cleaned every three months,” Vieira said. “We would lose 96 hours of production per machine each year to clean our coolant tanks during regular working hours. With the new arrangement, we reduced our coolant tank cleaning from once every three months to once a year. We are able to clean our coolant tanks during our normal shutdown weeks, so we don’t lose any production time for coolant tank cleaning. Only having to clean the tanks once a year means we have also reduced our coolant tank hazardous waste removal by 75%,” said Vieira.
The Jorgensen chip conveyors also came equipped with a Jam Manager control. “What this control does for us is, if something falls into the conveyor, or if the quantity of bushy chips that are in the conveyor jams, the conveyor will automatically back up and go forward again three times to try and clear the jam, before stopping. If that doesn’t work, we clear the jam manually,” said Vieira. “This saves our conveyors from being damaged because of forcing the conveyor to pass the jam through. This, along with regular maintenance, should afford us a much longer chip conveyor life. Our old chip conveyors lasted three years. Our new Jorgensen chip conveyors have been in place for two years and are still performing very well.”
“Jorgensen Conveyors designs custom solutions to meet the needs of our customers,” said Co-Principal John D’Amico, “With any new order, our skilled engineers create designs using SolidWorks that will successfully solve the customer’s application needs. We have a state-of-the-art 100,000 ft2 [9290 m2] manufacturing facility and we maintain ISO 9001 certification.”
For more information from Jorgensen Conveyors, go to www.jorgensenconveyors.com, or phone 262-242-3089; for information from Murata Machinery USA Inc., go to www.automatedturning.com, or phone 800-428-8469.