Engineering, Products & Technology

Adelaide tram network acquires Australia’s first Mobiturn 2

Providing turning capability in a tram depot comes with a unique set of challenges compared to that of a train depot. Rail Express spoke to Andrew Engineering’s engineering director, Chris Parish, to find out how the supplier went about the challenge.

When Australian equipment supplier and engineering firm Andrew Engineering was contracted to provide wheel turning capability at Adelaide’s Glengowrie tram depot in 2017, the supplier’s multi-faceted capabilities endowed it with the flexibility to adapt to a different type of depot.

“Tram depots, especially on brownfield or existing sites have unique challenges compared to heavy rail,” Parish said.

“The systems generally operate around existing road networks, so maintenance facilities are often located in well- established urban areas with all the requisite planning restrictions.”

“Train depots, however, tend to be in remote locations with less restrictive planning environments, where civil construction works are often a cost effective alternative. As such, space is often at a premium at tram depots and major civil construction works are restrictive and expensive.”

At Glengowrie, a highly restrictive location with very little room “even for mobile equipment”, Andrew Engineering undertook a process of providing wheel turning capability that limited civil construction works.

“We measured up the relevant sections of the facility, provided proposals and layouts and helped the client settle on the most cost-effective location.”

The supplier prides itself in its significant technical capabilities as an engineering firm. Its highly skilled team of engineers and technicians are able to develop bespoke technology and provide off- the-shelf solutions. They are also able to provide comprehensive support for rail depot equipment with custom designed rail wheels, bogie exchange system (BES), turntables, lift platforms, and automated handling systems, according to Parish.

“We have a strong engineering focus, so we’re not just a reseller or an agent. We have a large number of tradespeople that work alongside with engineers and project managers all within the same organisation.”

At Glengowrie, the maintenance of the tram fleet was enabled with the supply of Andrew Engineering’s purpose-built mobile wheel lathe and mobile lifting jacks.

“Our Eurogamma mobile jacks and Hegenscheidt MFD Mobiturn 2 mobile wheel lathe were particularly well suited to this depot,” Parish said.

These products greatly minimised civil engineering requirements allowing the client to make minor modifications to their existing maintenance roads in order to achieve in-house turning capacity.

The Mobiturn 2 has the only genuine mobile wheel lathe on the market, according to Parish, and is the world’s first and only wheelset machining system which comes to the rail vehicle.

“Our competitors provide small devices capable of re-truing single wheels but none of them provide the necessary performance for serious wheel maintenance.”

It has been specifically designed for the machining of wheels, wheelsets and brake discs of rail vehicles in both the installed and dismantled state. It is a pit-less lathe for machining installed wheel sets on raised vehicles, single wheel sets and bogies.

The machine moves by motorised traction drive, and using radio control, under the wheel set to be machined, it can also be moved by means of a shunting vehicle. The machine is provided with transport lugs to allow it to be loaded/unloaded onto trucks.

The Eurogamma Jacks, alternatively, were designed specifically to fit in the restricted space of the Glengowrie depot.

“They are highly sophisticated synchronised lifting jacks capable of operating in a 4, 8 or 12 jack configurations.

“The jacks have all the requisite features required to meet local and international standards, including primary and safety nuts, failure detection, obstruction detection, automatic lube etc., as well as sophisticated electronics that control the lifting plane to better than 1mm across all 12 units.

“They are also intuitive to use with a display that constantly updates the operator on their status,” Parish said.

The Glengowrie depot fit-out was completed in 2019 and contributed towards improved vehicle maintenance, with shorter rolling-stock downtimes and considerably higher efficiencies in maintenance.

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