Automated cleaning in wheelset processing 

BvL supplies cleaning concept for modernisation of a DB (Deutsche Bahn) maintenance plant

Two state-of-the-art cleaning systems were designed for wheelset processing in DB vehicle maintenance facilities. The central requirements for cleaning the cylindrical roller bearings and wheelset bearing housings were high quantity, lowest possible handling effort and very high cleaning quality. A continuous system with automated transport and loading system was therefore to be used for the cylindrical roller bearings to achieve a short cycle time with almost no manual processing.

RFID marking presented a special challenge for cleaning the housings. All components of a wheelset run in a closed loop. After cleaning and testing, they have to be mounted back onto the same wheelset. The software integration of the chamber cleaning system was another important requirement in the project: due to the automation, interfaces to upstream and downstream systems for transfer, loading and transport have to be perfectly coordinated. It had to be possible to call up messages about the condition of the cleaning system for both cleaning systems independent of the location.

Mr Etienne Altmann, Planning Engineer at DB Systemtechnik GmbH, handles the project from bidding, technical testing and placement to acceptance, delivery and installation of the cleaning systems on site. “The systems had to be designed for 24-hour operation. With a throughput of more than 20 cylindrical roller bearings per hour for the continuous system and about twelve load carriers per hour in the chamber system, we achieve a very high processing capacity,” Altmann explains. “The components had to be dry and free from grease and other residue after washing even in hard-to-reach areas,” he says about the required results.

Automated continuous system “Yukon” for cylindrical roller bearings
For cleaning the cylindrical roller bearings, BvL Oberflächentechnik used the continuous system “Yukon” which allows processing of large quantities with little parts handling. General pre-washing as a continuous process with linear movement and slight rotation of the bearings takes place in the first cleaning zone. The second zone provides targeted cleaning: the bearings are set to intrinsic rotation and 20 bar pressure is applied. Zone 3 rinses away the cleaning agent residue and zone 4 provides intensive drying with a 7.5 kW side channel compressor.

The available pump capacity of the high pressure pump is used for conveying the grease out of the system. Surface flooding washes the grease to the outlet. The concept for increasing bath life also includes tank volume and circulation capacity. A 3,500 l tank volume provides an option for settling the bath with a high dirt absorption capacity. The high circulation capacity of 850 l/h ensures grease separation.

Turntable system “Ocean” as continuous system in cycle operation for bearing housings

The “Ocean” cleaning system was designed by BvL Oberflächentechnik as a continuous system with an additional lifting gate at the rear. Cleaning is carried out by a special nozzle system while the goods to be cleaned rotate. To achieve the required processing capacity, the cleaning system can be loaded with 2 load carriers at the same time. Overall, this takes 10 minutes per batch.

The sophisticated conveyor technology is a special feature of the system: A flexible linear drive was used which also enables the rotation during the washing process. One upstream and one downstream hydraulic lifting table provide lifting and lowering of the load carriers as well as automatic drive-in and drive-out via chain drive.

Advantages from an experienced partner
“With BvL Oberflächentechnik we have an experienced partner who provides the required knowledge as well as technical competence,” Altmann explains. “The reference system in a French factory was received very positively. It implements very long bath lives which is what we now also aim for in the modernised DB plants. We also found the fast production of the systems to be very convincing.” Another advantage of the BvL systems was the “Libelle” which allows evaluation of the bath condition at any time. This evaluation unit allows optimum planning of bath changes in the framework of the production process. Both systems are heated independently through integrated gas burners and do not have to be connected to the heating network of the plant.

BvL Oberflächentechnik GmbH
is one of the leading suppliers of industrial cleaning systems. BvL has in-depth specialist knowledge in system design for extreme applications. As a specialist in cleaning processes at rail transport companies, BvL can draw on multifaceted project experience from a large number of applications over the last two decades, including international projects. The systems are specifically tailored to the needs of maintenance personnel and guarantee many years of cleaning efficiency. The large number of satisfied customers stand for the trust placed in BvL.

Special system concepts for high efficiency
BvL has developed special system concepts for the cleaning of bogies, bearings, electric motors, wheelsets and other train components. Robust stainless steel systems for water based cleaning. These solutions adapt different processes and system technologies as well as tank size and bath treatment to the individual requirements of railway technology. The cleaning result is achieved through high temperatures, high spraying pressure and high volumetric flow in combination with ideally formulated cleaning chemicals.

BvL turntable system Ocean with hydraulic lifting table for cleaning bearing housings in a continuous process
BvL conveyour system Yukon for cleaning bearings