Railways to produce Metro Rail coaches at MCF/Rae Bareilly factory

In a 1st, railways to use robots to manufacture Metro Rail Coaches under Make In India at its Rae Bareilly based factory. It will also be the first factory in the country where coaches will be produced by robots.

NEW DELHI / RAE BARELI: For the first time, Indian Railways will manufacture metro rail coaches at its Rae Bareilly based factory under the Make In India scheme, an official said Thursday. The coaches will be manufactured by robots and will be on par with those being manufactured by Canadian firm Bombardier, currently being used by metro trains in the country.

Multi-Robot Multi-Gauge Coach Shell fabrication commissioned as 1st in India for high quality flexible fabrication of Broad/Standard/Metre/Cape gauge coaches!

They will be 40 per cent cheaper than those procured from China and other countries and will be equipped with Wi-Fi, CCTV cameras, mobile charging outlets among other facilities, the official said. In addition, they will also boast of safety features including signalling, door control and train management systems along with modern surveillance gadgets on board.

“We already have had two meetings with the government on producing metro coaches. The Maharashtra government has given it’s approval for coaches for two metro trains,” said Rajesh Agarwal, member (rolling stock), Railway Board. “We are making a total of six metro coaches as of now,” Agarwal said further adding, that the cost of each coach would be Rs 8 crore, while those procured from China or other countries cost around Rs 12 crores. The board has decided to go for standardised coaches and has asked the Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO) and the Modern Coach Factory (MCF) to invest in making it a reality, the official said.

Agarwal said the expansion of the MCF at a cost of Rs 480 crore– including recruitment of experts and technicians on a large scale– will be completed by December 2018. “It will also be the first factory in the country where coaches will be produced by robots,” he said.

Automated Material Handling at MCF, Rae Bareli

MCF’s automated railway wheel set maintenance facility will utilize a variety of modern automation systems at the Rae Bareli plant. This technology primarily moves wheel set components such as bearings, wheels, or axles and assemblies such as wheel sets, pairs of wheels, and bearing pallets between machine tools and throughout the wheel shop. Their use decreases direct human contact with wheel set components and machines, increasing personnel safety and reducing opportunities for error. It also decreases the need for forklifts and manual overhead cranes to move the work pieces. The shop floor of an automated facility does not rely on in-floor rails or raised rails to convey wheel sets, allowing easier access to key machines and measuring systems. This also permits adding machines to a particular cell or area without having to rework material handling systems. The automation systems at Rae Bareli include:

  • Programmable Robots
  • Overhead Gantry Cranes
  • Escapements
  • Turntables

These automation systems communicate with the wheel shop’s Production Control System and the machines’ integrated measurement capabilities to route the wheel set components to the relevant machine or machine cell for assembly, disassembly, machining, and measurement. They can be reprogrammed to avoid machines that are temporarily down for maintenance, allowing the shop to remain productive and limiting overall downtime.

Modern Coach Factory at Rae Bareli customizes all automation systems to meet the wheel shop’s current and future production capabilities, with overhead gantry crane robots for easiest reprogram to accommodate additional machines and operations with technology for successful design, manufacturing, installation, and total integration of all machines and automation systems.

The plant specializes in custom welding robot systems for tasks such as the production of bogies and their components. For the sub-assemblies, floor tracks with rotary arms will be used; during assembly, the robots are placed on 2- or 3- axis slide systems. L-shaped manipulators used to permit high-quality welding in the flat position.

In the complete fabrication of passenger cars for Metro Rail, different processes such as MIG/MAG, plasma, contact points and resistance welding are combined on fabrication lines with corresponding clamping and transport systems. Bogies, roof sections, and window frames are fabricated using standard robot systems or with custom portal solutions using MIG/MAG single-wire and tandem, plasma, and spot welding processes.

Metro train sets require aluminum bodies. Equipped with a push-pull wire feed on the “TorchDrive” wrist joint and the laser camera, these robots can also handle this application.