Ramkrishna Titagarh Rail Wheels Ltd, a joint venture between one of the largest suppliers of forged parts in India and the nation’s largest manufacturer of railroad wagons in the private sector, has placed an order with the German press manufacturer Schuler
for a turnkey production line to produce railroad wheels. The line will include a wheel roller, two forging presses, automation, and dies, as well as a rotary hearth furnace (pictured) and a heat treatment line from Andritz Metals Germany which, like Schuler, is part of the international technology group Andritz.
Naresh Jalan, the managing director of Ramkrishna Forgings, said: “Schuler has already proven its expertise in the manufacture of railroad wheels with numerous production lines installed on the Asian continent. It was important for us to select a supplier whose equipment stands for high quality.” Christian Palm, Schuler’s director hydraulic presses, added: “Forged railroad wheels are best at handling the extreme stresses of heavy acceleration and deceleration, and we are pleased to make a small contribution to taking rail transportation in India to the next level with this production line.”
The forming of rail wheels takes place in four steps before they enter machining. First, a 10,000-tonne hydraulic forging press produces a disc-shaped preform from a heated billet in two stages; this preform is then given its final diameter in a wheel roller. Finally, the rolled-out wheel is calibrated in a 5,000-tonne press and the hub then both axially offset and pierced.
Andritz Metals Germany is one of the largest furnace manufacturers in Europe, and together with Schuler they have already built several plants to produce railroad wheels and axles. Upstream of the press line, the Andritz rotary hearth furnace ensures uniform heating of the billets to a temperature of 1,250°C.
After the forging process, the wheels are normalized in the Andritz high-temperature furnace at a temperature of 980°C. Subsequently, only the rim of the railroad wheels is hardened and tempered in the Andritz low-temperature furnace at a temperature of 480°C.