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Rail industry

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Rail industry

Whether it is rail vehicles for freight and passenger transport, control and safety technology or rail infrastructure: in the rail industry safety and the observe of the highest quality standards are of elementary importance. As a result, the steel components installed need to fulfil the highest standards when it comes to surface protection. To avoid damage and downtime due to corrosion, insure constant functional efficiency and guarantee long-lasting, premium appearance of the components, in addition to high-performance corrosion protection the selected coating must also display enduringly high resistance to mechanical and chemical stress.

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Dennis Mulalic

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Safety and lifetime in focus

Rail fasteners

Focus on safety and operating lifetime

Over the many miles of track in North America, damage occurs directly blocking sections of the railway and therefore expensive disruptions to freight and passenger transport. As a result, components used to secure rail sections, such as rail clamps and fasteners need to be provided with enduring, effective protection against corrosion, depending on where they are employed - for example when exposed to salty air at the coast. At the same time, the selected surface coatings must also offer resistance to high chemical and mechanical stress, such as stone impacts.

Requirements

  • Strict requirements to corrosion resistance (1,440 h as per ASTM B117)
  • Colouring
  • Cost reduction by sacrifice of stainless steel
  • Resistance to cleaners (acidic and alkaline)
  • No hydrogen-​induced stress corrosion cracking
  • Chromium (VI)-free

Solutions

Zinc flake technology offers high-performance protection against corrosion as well as mechanical and chemical influences on rail-securing components. Consisting of a zinc flake base coat and a top coat, the systems offer very good cathodic corrosion protection with extremely thin coats. No hydrogen embrittlementoccurs, which minimizes the risk of sudden failure and expensive downtime for high-tensile steel components in particular. In addition, the zinc flake coatings also display high resistance to aggressive cleaning agents. This serves to insure the long-lasting functional capability of the infrastructure components. Finally, the coating also offers an economical and constructively-beneficial alternative to standard stainless steel fasteners in the area of overhead cables.

Example components

Rail clamps

Rail clamps are used to secure rails on railway tracks. In addition to high corrosion protection performance (1,440 hours as per salt spray test) the coating must also display high resistance to stone impacts. The application of colored top coats is also often necessary.

Fasteners

Depending on conditions, fasteners need to be protected against corrosive influences with a high-performance coating. Chromium(VI)-free zinc flake technology is a good option here. The low coat thickness and possibility of individual coefficient of friction also result in good fastening properties, with resistance to alkaline and acidic cleaning agents also provided.

Transport

Insuring function and appearance

From fasteners to sliding blocks and retaining rings: countless components are fitted in rail vehicles. Effective surface coatings are required to protect these against corrosion in the long term and hinder optical limitations in the form of red rust. In addition, exterior areas in particular require the use of a coating system that offers a high level of protection against aggressive alkaline or acid cleaning agents such as those often use in the removal of graffiti. Regarding premium appearance, the ability to enable coloring is a key requirement of the coating system.

Requirements

  • Strict requirements to corrosion resistance (1,440 h as per ASTM B117)
  • Resistance to cleaners (acidic and alkaline)
  • Trueness to gauge (set coefficient of friction)
  • No hydrogen-​induced stress corrosion cracking
  • Chromium (VI)-free

Solutions

To counter the formation of corrosion, steel components in the interior and exterior areas of rail vehicles are mostly painted, powder-coated or galvanically treated. Zinc flake systems represent an economical alternative to these. These systems consist of two coats – a zinc flake base coat and an individual top coat, which can also be color co-ordinated. The system enables a very high protection level to be achieved with even extremely thin coats. At the same time the low coat thicknesses and individually-adjustable coefficient of friction enable good fastening characteristics for fasteners. The high chemical resistance of the zinc flake coating prevents the premature failure of components as a consequence of the influence of aggressive cleaning agents. In this way the surface coating helps to extend the vehicle lifetime and ensure function.

Example components

Fasteners

Depending on application, the fasteners employed must be coated with a chromium (VI)-free corrosion protection of 480 -1,440 hours as per the salt spray test ASTM B117. At the same time, the coating must ensure good fastening characteristics and long-term resistance to all alkaline and acidic cleaning agents.

Sliding blocks

Sliding blocks secure a bearing in the groove for bolts and are generally made from stainless steel. Coating with a special top coat enables the required coefficient of friction and excellent fastening characteristics to be achieved.

Retaining rings

Retaining rings are used in rail vehicles in many different dimensions and designs secure screwed connections against breakaway via clamping force rather than friction. They are required to have high corrosion protection performance (720 hours as per salt spray test ASTM B117).