B&B Coatings | Huddersfield


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Extending Rail Vehicle Part Life

Due to their expense, Rail Vehicles are expected to have a long service life, often over 30 years. Downtime and maintenance are extremely costly and as such it is key that Rail Vehicle components have the longest possible life before replacement.

In order to achieve this, currently a number of components used in the production of Rolling Stock undergo a process known as Hard Chrome Plating. This is a traditional plating process where parts are submerged into an electrolyte solution, and has electricity fed through it promoting the adhesion of the compound onto the component. In the case of Hard Chrome this provides a tough protective barrier able to withstand levels of wear and erosion thus improving part life.

​There are a number of issues however with this process, the main being that the Hexavalent solution used in Hard Chrome Plating is a known carcinogen and is bad for the environment. Hexavalent Chrome is currently on the European Chemical Agency's list of annexed substances and heavy restrictions on the use of this material come into force in September 21st, 2017. A large amount of pre-treatment work is also needed in order to carry out the process.

This treatment is currently carried out on a number of components including: Hub Carriers, Turbine Shafts, Steering Racks, Pinion Shafts, Cam Buckets and more.

One alternative to this are HVOF applied Coatings. This process is not only better for the environment, but creates coatings which are dense in nature with a low porosity and have already been proven to outperform Hard Chrome in a number of applications.

This process takes powdered material, heats them up and ‘fires’ them out at extreme velocities creating a coating with an extremely strong bond. These coatings are characteristically hard and able to withstand extreme levels of wear, temperature and corrosion depending on the formulation used. Popular coatings include: Ceramics, Tungsten Carbide, Chromium Oxide and Inconel. As an additive process, HVOF coatings can rebuild worn areas, making it an ideal process for Maintenance work.

They are already widely used in the Aerospace industry for parts like Landing Gear and Engine Turbines and the process can be used to coat a variety of materials.

HVOF applied coatings could greatly extend the part life of a wide variety of Rail Components, especially where wear and erosion are a concern. B&B are offering free test pieces to companies who are willing for them to be used as a case study. Get in touch today and see how HVOF extend the life of your parts.

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