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Rail Welding

Modern handling equipment require a smooth and continuous rail track. Consequently, rails must be butt-welded to avoid shocks at joints, as well as damage to wheels and other mechanical parts.

The geometry of DIN 536/1 type rails is such that it prevents any other technique for joining the rails.

Practically, two crane rail welding methods are used, on the ground or at height :

  • Enclosed arc using electrodes.
  • Alumino-thermic welding.

Enclosed arc welding

puddle arc welding

    • Technology :

The void between the ends of the rail is filled with a continuous layer of fillet welds.

    • Equipment :

– permanent basic equipment : material for adjustment and preheating, set of electrolytic copper blocks, power transformer, grinding equipment.
– consumables : specially adapted electrodes, heat insulation plates to protect the pad.

    • Implementation :

– the technique requires qualified rail welders.
– welding instructions available.

Alumino-thermic welding (Thermite Welding)

Thermal Rail Welding

    • Technology

The steel obtained by combining iron oxide with aluminum is cast at over 2000°C in a refractory mould matching the rail profile.

    • Equipment :

– permanent basic equipment for themite welding : material for adjustment, mould fixing, preheating, casting and finishing off.
– consumables : mould adapted to the rail profile, welding charge and igniter.

    • Implementation:

– this technique gives excellent results, and is independent of atmospheric and operational conditions.
– the implementation of this thermite welding technique requires qualified welders. GANTREX® can provide you with the necessary training and qualification of your welders, or carry out the welding operation.
– welding instructions available.

Flash Butt Welding (In North America Flash Butt Welding of crane rail is available.)

Field Butt Welding

  • Technology:
    The flash butt welding process entails bringing the rail ends together and generating an arc which heats the metal. Once the metal reaches the appropriate temperature the rail ends are forged together using hydraulic pressure and the excess upset material at the weld interface is sheared away to produce a near perfect rail profile with minimal secondary profile grinding required. The entire process is automated with the rail ends encapsulated and manipulated by a portable weld head
  • Equipment:
    The support equipment which provides power and control to the flash butt weld head is truck-mounted and connects to the weld head with umbilical cables and hoses. The support vehicle must be able to get close to the welded site. For overhead welding at least two mobile cranes are required to support the welding operations. One to support the weld head and the second to lift and place the rails.
  • Implementation:
    The process lends itself to very high weld production rates but only if the supporting labor force is well organized to take full advantage of the equipment capabilities. The process is most productive when the rail is fed to the weld head at a fixed location, welded then pulled down the runway on rollers. Gantrex can offer organization and management of the flash butt welding process to maximum your productivity.