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High tech for the railway

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Interview by “Tecnologie Meccaniche” on the railway sector with Sergio Leoni, Product development manager of Innse-Berardi

The railway is one of the strategic application sectors for Innse-Berardi. The cutting-edge machines and processing systems of the Brescia-based company are able to meet the different needs of this market.

Innse-Berardi's offer consists of high-speed horizontal and vertical machining centres, horizontal and vertical milling machines for heavy machining, special machines for specific applications, customized machines, and various accessories/equipment for the configuration of the machine tools.

This consists in a wide range of large size products and integrated processing systems, characterized by high reliability and maximum operational efficiency.

Innse-Berardi’s presence in the railway sector is essentially linked to the processing of railway bogies, components for railway switches (switch rails, point blades, stock rails) and all those morphologically complex components that require high added value machining operations.

To find out more, we met Sergio Leoni, Product Development Manager of Innse-Berardi (Camozzi Group).

How important is the railway sector for Innse-Berardi?

“It is a market that is strengthening because rail transport is still strategic and highly technological. Our company has always operated in the railway sector and has gained a deep knowledge, both technological and commercial, in terms of machining cast iron engines, railway bogies and other components for switches.

In recent times we have seen important signs of recovery in the sector. We are receiving several requests for offers from different countries, mainly from China, Italy, Germany, and the United States. In general, there is a demand that comes both from emerging countries that need to create infrastructures, and from industrialized countries that want to modernize their infrastructures, for example to extend the high-speed rail network.

We have recently installed 5 vertical machining centres in China, 2 in the USA, and we are preparing a machining centre with double mobile table for the machining of high manganese cast steel switch blades. These are always “turnkey” supplies that include the machining cycle».

What solutions do you propose to the railway sector?

The Atlas series high-speed vertical milling centres represent the ideal solution for railway applications as they can rely on machines that, depending on the specific configuration, can provide high levels of precision, dynamic performance and power.

The machines can be supplied in stand-alone version, with a pallet change system, or inserted in FMS. For the stand-alone configuration, the machines can be equipped with one or two mobile tables or in the Gantry version with one or two work areas.

We can therefore provide the machine configuration that best suits the customer's needs to reduce or eliminate the loading and unloading times of pieces or for the retooling of the workstations.

To reduce machine downtime, the typical customer often requires double tools housed in the machine magazine, to be able to work even in the unattended third shift.

Ultimately, the customers' needs are to obtain high production volumes with the minimum commitment of manpower and the maximum machining accuracy to create a product capable of guaranteeing high quality levels".

What are the characteristics of the Atlas Vision and Hydro machines in solutions suitable for the railway field?

The Innse-Berardi Atlas series vertical machining centres can be equipped with a fixed or mobile crosspiece (W axis). They are characterized by high geometric and dynamic performances. Devices dedicated to monitoring and compensating for the thermal drifts allow a perfectly rectilinear movement of the tool with high positioning accuracy.

Atlas Vision versions are generally intended for the machining of railway bogies and medium-sized parts.

Atlas Hydro versions are generally intended for machining components for railway switches and large engine parts.

All machines can be equipped with the IBRM system, the digital platform equipped with algorithms patented by Innse-Berardi in collaboration with Camozzi Digital, which allows actual predictive maintenance and continuous monitoring of the vital parameters of the machine. In addition to a continuous real-time control of a series of machine operating parameters, the IBRM platform, which works in the cloud, allows automatic diagnosis of the conditional status of its critical components.

This is done by continuous monitoring of the working conditions and process parameters by means of a series of sensors installed on the machine. When the limit thresholds of some physical quantities established by the algorithms are exceeded, an alert signal is automatically generated in order to intervene on the machine in an immediate or programmed/predictive manner.

Using the IBRM platform and the consolidated teleservice, we are able to solve most of the problems reported by customers of the four local services in the USA, China, Germany and Russia, which allows us to guarantee response times within 24 hours all over the world.

In the case of "turnkey" supplies, we support the customer in all those activities that lead to the design of the machining cycle, the execution of the part program and the training of personnel so that they can make the best use of the machine.

Finally, thanks to our historical validity and the fleet of machines installed, the overhaul and revamping activities allow the renewal and updating of existing machines and are a good opportunity to always be alongside our customers".

How do you handle the vibration problem?

In the machining of cast steel switch blades with a high manganese content, for example, the problem of vibrations is particularly critical in consideration of the fact that, in order to work that type of material and obtain productivity, large diameter cutters with numerous inserts must be used causing great strain on the machine.

For this reason, particular attention is paid to the kinematic chains for the movement of the linear and polar axes.

  • The polar axes are equipped with a multiple pinion system on a toothed wheel to obtain maximum rigidity and high movement dynamics in the absence of play. The solution adopted, with electronic backlash recovery, guarantees a constant preload of the system without the need for periodic adjustments.
  • A double rack and pinion system with electronic backlash recovery is also used for linear axes where possible.

Source: Tecnologie Meccaniche nr.7/8  (July / August 2020)



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