Clean work for clean railway parts 

Schweizerische Südostbahn uses cleaning system from BvL

Fast handling of repair and maintenance work is necessary in the railway industry to remain competitive and offer customers best possible safety. The materials in any railway parts are under enormous strain and regular tests for cracks and material fatigue are absolutely essential. A high level of contamination often poses great challenges for service providers in the field of parts cleaning. In addition, the railway parts are often real heavyweights that many cleaning systems cannot handle. A good solution was commissioned at Schweizerische Südostbahn AG (SOB) a few months ago and declared to be highly suitable for practical use.

Railway cleaning solutions from BvL – sophisticated technology from Germany

With almost 30 years of experience in industrial parts cleaning, BvL Oberflächentechnik GmbH from Emsbüren in Germany has the know-how to develop the right solutions for specific customer requirements. The first step was to determine the cleaning requirements and the technical possibilities together with the responsible specialists from SOB and the Swiss sales partner metalclean GmbH from St Gall. The large-parts system PacificTA as the basic system was designed to provide the cleaning team at SOB with a user friendly and environmentally friendly system offering the best cleaning results.

Heavyweights with high throughput in service

Up to 70 railway bogies are serviced at the Samstagern service centre of SOB every year. A washing bell and a washing chamber for large components had been used for cleaning since 1988 Low washing output, long processing times and lack of convenience made a replacement necessary. The parts – anything from axle bearing covers to train protection bars – are now cleaned by the new Pacific cleaning system, not only with a significantly higher cleaning performance, but also with much less effort and time required from the employees. A crane lifts the railway parts to be cleaned, which can weigh up to 1.2 tons individually, onto rolling loading carriages which then conveniently transport the parts into the system. For cleaning the large components (e.g. bogie frames), BvL also equipped the manual washing station with a new high-pressure cleaner.

Washing, rinsing and drying in one chamber

Once the electronic system control has been individually programmed and the electric lifting gates are closed, the parts are cleaned by an integrated spraying device in the processing chamber. Two powerful circulation pumps supply the wide spray nozzles on the oscillating nozzle frame with water. This intensive treatment is followed by the rinsing cycle with water from a second tank. The high temperatures up to 80 °C ensure energy efficient drying of the cleaned parts without an additional process step.

Clean components with filters and bath sensors

The condition of the washing and rinsing water is of great importance for reliable, constant cleanliness of the cleaned parts. To achieve this, the medium from the Pacific cleaning system and from manual high-pressure cleaning is transported via a separate belt filter to remove any solids. Tank rinsing in the pressure line of the washing and rinsing pump and a ring line above the tank floor swirl up these solids in both tanks as a preparatory measure. A plate phase separator additionally provides oil separation. All BvL systems are equipped with a sensor system as a standard (Libelle Fluid Control) to permanently measure the contamination level of the cleaning fluid by measuring light absorption. This allows the user to immediately identify when a bath change is required.

Environmentally friendly and energy efficient cleaning

After filtering, the wastewater is reintroduced into the system, saving as much energy and water as possible in addition to ensuring a long bath life. The additional flexible insulation material on the pipes, filters and tank covers increases the output of thermal energy. In addition to reducing energy costs, the BvL system meets the environmental protection requirements stipulated by SOB. This safeguards the investment in the future. 
The cleaning system is conveniently loaded via a moving trolley.
Solid contamination particles are discharged via the separately integrated belt filter.