Railcar Positioner Upgrade

Richmond Engineering Works (REW) has completed a Railcar Positioner Upgrade for a power station in Missouri. The project consisted of upgrading the runway foundation for the positioner carriage and rebuilding / upgrading the hydraulic and mechanical equipment on the spare positioner carriage supplied by the customer. With this upgrade, unloading times where improved from unloading a unit train in 6 hours to now 5 hours. In addition, the positioner arm speed was improved from 20 seconds to 6 seconds. By replacing and / or upgrading your equipment, production increases, safety is improved and life is extended.

The upper half of the entire length of runway was removed and rebuilt by embedding a new fabricated and machined steel frame supplied by REW. The new runway design integrates crane rail for the thrust and travel rails therefore reducing the bearing stress on the foundation and lengthening the life expectancy of the runway. In addition to increasing the life expectancy of the runway, the crane rails are superior in hardness, strength and wear-ability compared to the previous wear plate design and thus reduce maintenance time and costs.

The existing claw style arm on the positioner was replaced with a forked head style arm. The forked head style arm provides the same functionality as the claw arm style, as far as indexing unit train cars, but does not require all the hydraulic equipment and maintenance that comes with a claw style arm. An additional benefit of the forked head style arm, beyond the reduced maintenance costs, is the reduction in cycle time.

The travel and positioning sensors of the carriage were upgraded. The original travel and positioning of the carriage was operated on ten mechanical switches, two photo eye sensors and one laser. This system was susceptible to mis-spots and would require manual overrides to correct inaccurate spotting of the railcars in the entry and exit chocks. The switches were replaced with four latching style sensors, three photo eyes and one laser. The new system will adjust automatically to spot the railcars in the chocks without the need of the manual operation of the equipment therefore reducing cycle time.

The customer supplied spare HPU was upgraded to increase cylinder speed, improve arm seating accuracy and eliminate cylinder drift. The speed of the cylinder was increased by the addition of another accumulator to the HPU. Dual, programmable proportional valves were installed to replace the existing directional valves. This allowed smooth accel and decel ramping of the cylinder. The size of the existing cylinder ports were increased and counterbalance valves installed to eliminate cylinder drift.

A new automatic lubrication system was installed onto the carriage frame to provide grease at 15 lubrication points. The lubrication system provides a specified amount of grease independently to each of the 15 grease ports. Therefore, the amount of grease can be increased or decreased at each lubrication point. The lubrication system runs when the equipment is powered on and provides small steady amounts of grease during operation.

For more information, contact us at 412-787-9640.

Railcar Positioner Runway
Railcar Positioner Runway