Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Freight Rail, Track Construction, Track and Civil, Rail Express features

Equipment for any challenge

RW Equipment has established itself in Australia and after attending Heavy Haul Rail, it is primed to expand further to support the region.

RW Equipment (RWECA) has called on all of its international experience to deliver quality flashbutt welding solutions.

“I suppose RWECA is the new kid on the block in Australia, but we are heavily supported by RW LLC and that is what has ensured our success,” said RW Equipment & Consulting Australasia (RWECA) technical advisor Matthew Reilly.

“We were never going to go out and big note ourselves – we let the work do the talking.”

RWECA is working with a range of mining companies in Western Australia, touching base with many critical customers at the Heavy Haul Rail event held in Perth in March.

“One of our larger clients we have taken on based in the Pilbara has seen an impressive improvement in uptime from 56 per cent to now over 85 per cent,” Reilly said.

“It has been about 12 months of hard work, but our overall goal will be getting as close to 100 per cent as possible.

“Our guys on the ground would have close to 40 years’ combined experience and we have the strong support network across our team coupled with our international team.”

Reilly explained that the years of experience puts RWECA at the forefront of flashbutt welding technology.

“We have had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs and uncover potential problems that others may not have even had come up yet,” he said.

Much of the equipment utilised on sites across Western Australia were delivered by the team in previous roles, giving them a unique insight to the needs of various companies.

“I think Vic and Chuck from head office have delivered 200 plus machines. This experience is invaluable,” Reilly said.

“We have begun working on our delivery processes here as well.

The RW Equipment team had the opportunity to attend the Heavy Haul Rail conference in Perth. IMAGES: RW Equipment

“We recently delivered some equipment, that, between arriving on the boat and being out and working on site, was about three weeks. It was seamless.”

Data driven success

Reilly said that RWECA can have a range of machines working across multiple companies at any one time, making it imperative that they tailor its offering to individual businesses.

“The data we provide is different for each company, as each one has different maintenance models, most of which we develop,” he said.

“We know what works and what doesn’t When they deviate away from that, that is where you see failures.”

For RWECA it has the benefit of working in the field closely with its clients in order to collect data and send it back to the factory. Reilly explained the company can collect data around material, sizing, sensors, slip detection, control of the heads clamp and temperature, which are all imperative to improving the welds.

“That’s information that we think could be useful in analytics and making the machine better. We will go to the factory, they’ll implement it, we can then put out a suite of upgrades,” Reilly said.

“We can then implement those changes into the next purchase.”

RWECA have transitioned from manual data analysis to digital tracking for simplicity. Reilly said that a lot of people can have opinions around what will make the welding systems successful, but the organisation prefers to rely on facts.

“Anything that we want to see trended across multiple welds, we can capture it and present it instantly,” he said.

“These systems make it much easier to get quality welds over time. We want repeatability and by utilising strong data tracking we can deliver that.”

Supporting all of Australia

Although RWECA is based out of Western Australia, it is supporting the entirety of the country. 

“Basically, wherever the machines are needed, we are there,” Reilly said.

“We have clients on the East Coast, South Australia and moving into the Northern Territory. Wherever there is flashbutt welding, we are there to support.”

RWECA has done work on almost every railway, working with major companies on diverse networks. Australia’s unique rail networks with varying gauges always poses challenges, but the team at RWECA always look forward helping solve any issues that arise because of those discrepancies.

“Our team is all over the country and we can react quickly to any issues,” he said.

“We have people working at major mining companies full time, and then we have floaters who can respond quickly to provide support.”

Reilly explained the company has established itself as a solo operation here in Australia, utilising learnings from RW LLC but being prepared for any challenge the local market may face.

“When we first started, we would be on the phone all the time, but we knew that was not sustainable,” he said.

“It was a little bit of trial by fire, but we were passionate and we built up our skillset and a core group to support Australia.

“People ask us why our machines are so reliable and simply it comes down to experience and understanding.”

Flashbutt welding

The flashbutt process is gaining favour as a preferred technique by rail operators. It utilises regulated electric short circuits to provide accurate welds without filler metal, as well as a consistent hardening process.

The traditional method of welding has been aluminothermic welding, which requires the filler, resulting in a weaker weld, with a longer cooling and solidifying time. RWECA has a number of machines to support the diverse needs of the Australian rail network.

RW20 container welder 

The RW20 is a self-contained, ready-for-service rail welding system. It is suitable for mass production of rail string in shop (static) condition or in track welding. 

RW30 and RW50 container welder 

These containerised welders are also self-contained, ready-for-service, rail welding systems that can be used for production welding of long welded rail in a static arrangement. Alternatively, they can be mounted to a track machine and used for in-track welding for either track maintenance, or full renewal including destress capability. 

RW1000 STATIONARY FLASHBUTT WELDING PLANT  

The RW1000 is designed for high-pace, mass production welding under stationary conditions, with flash removing immediately after welding.  It is also available in a containerised option, which makes it easy for mobilisation and set up in remote areas.