Yelahanka: India will soon make its entry into an elite group of countries that are equipped with a world-class rail wheel testing centre. The first Design, Development and Testing Centre (DDDDTC) for rail wheels is all set to come up on the premises of the Rail Wheel Factory (RWF) at Yelahanka.
RWF General Manager Pankaj Jain told new designs of rail wheels are presently being sent to the United States for carrying out safety checks. “It works out to Rs 3 crore for a single train wheel to be shipped to US and back and for the checks to be carried out there.” This also involves a waiting period, if there are other countries in the queue, for testing of the wheels.
China is the only Asian country to have this facility. Apart from the US, Germany and Italy have such centres. The testing centre will come up on one acre of railway land on the RWF premises at a cost of Rs 58 crore. “We have handed over the responsibility of execution of the work to Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES),” said Jain. RITES, an engineering consultancy firm, is a public sector company.
Chief Mechanical Engineer of RWF, S Mani, said RITES has already prepared a Detailed Project Report. Globaltenders will be called for by mid-June for setting up the DDDDTC. “International bidders have already shown keen interest and have visited the RWF for pre-bid discussions,” he added.
“We are looking at building the centre in 2.5 years or even sooner,” the CME said. Explaining the speciality of the proposed centre, Mani said it will simulate the actual conditions that a wheel will experience undergo when running. The vertical, lateral and braking forces of a wheel will also be tested. “The Research Design and Standards Organisation in Lucknow presently tests only the braking force of a wheel,” he added.
The most important component in the Safety Centre is the Dynamometer, which costs nearly Rs 35 crore and needs to be imported, the GM said.
Jain also said that RWF will initially be utilised to test wheels for Railways or Metro trains. “In future, we are looking at commercial purposes like carrying out wheel testing for other countries.”
RWF’s core work
RWF manufactures wheels and axles for Indian Railways. It was commissioned on September 15, 1984, by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It has manufactured 33,73,926 wheels and 16,34,231 axles till April 2016. It has produced 11,36,859 wheel sets too. (A wheel set consists of two wheels forged together with an axle). On an average, the RWF manufactures 700 wheels and 270 axles a day, said Chief Public Relations Officer V P Venkatesh.