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AXLE MANUFACTURING

Chapter 1
Introduction
The second unit of RWF is axle shop where the railway axles are produced. An axle is a
cylindrical rod on which the wheels of locomotives are seated and hence helps to maintain
the distance between the 2 wheels. There is wide variety of axle for different type's
vehicles.The railway axle is a long thick cylindrical rod made up of alloy steel and weighs
about 500 kg, The axles mainly consists of 4 parts namely Body. Wheel seat. Dust guard and
Journal.Major portion of the axle is the body whose length is fixed and is equal the distance
to be maintained between two parallel wheels. Hence the length of the body which is the
centre portion of the axle varies for different types of axle.The portion of the axle where the
wheels of the train is fixed is the wheel seat. The diameter and the length of the wheel seat
are completely based on the diameter of the bore in the wheel and its thickness.

The curved portion between the wheel seat and the journal is the dust guard. The two ends of
the axle are after the dust guard is called the journal. The journal is the main portion which is
required in a perfect smooth finished surface state. The bearings of the train wheels occupy
this place.In RWF the axle shop is divided into three portions where different operations are
performed on the axle. The blooms are cut and are given the shape of axle by forging and
later heat treated in the forging shop.The axles to the required dimensions are machined in
the machining shop. Certain tests done to check cracks.

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AXLE MANUFACTURING

Chapter 2
Forging Shop
Forging is the process that involves deforming of hot metal piece to a desired shape using
compressive forces. The force may be impact type, like a blow from a hammer or a squeeze
type, like that of Hydraulic press.In RWF the axle are produced by forging process. Here the
long blooms are cut into small piece called billets which are later given the shape of the axle
by forging.

Forging, because of its inherent improvement in the grain size and introduction of
uninterrupted grain flow in the finished Component has the following advantages:

Greater toughness and strength.


Reduction of weight of the finished part
Saving in the material.
Elimination internal defects, such as cracks, porosity, blow holes etc.
Ability to with stand unpredictable loads during service.
Minimum machining to be done for the work piece.

2.1 Cutting:
The long bar with square cross section called Blooms are cut into small length pieces called
Billets by Gas welding. The Billet Cutting machine is an automated machine with feed speed
of approx. 20 mm/min and capacity of 9 Billets/hr. The fuel used is Oxy-Acetylene gas. The
gas flame with a pressure of about 10 bar is directed on the work piece and cutting action is
performed. The cutting is based on length to weight ratio.

2.2 Heating:
The billets after being cut must be heated so that it can be forged.The Rotary Health Furnace
having four zones namely Pre-heating zone, heating zone, soaking zone 1 and soaking zone 2
is used for heating the billets to a temperature of about 1185 - 1200 degree Celsius.The billet
first enters the pre-heating zone where the heating process begins.Further it moves to the
heating zone.In the soaking zone 1 and 2 is the spread to the core of the work piece. The fuel
used is High Speed Diesel (HSD). The pressure inside the RHF is set to 10 bar. The
temperature of the flue gas coming out of RHF is around 600 degree Celsius.

2.3 Forging:
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AXLE MANUFACTURING
The red hot billet is now sent to forging machine in order to obtain the required
shape.Forging is the process that involves deforming of hot metal piece to a desired
shape using compressive forces. The force may be impact type, like a blow from a
hammer or a squeeze type, like that of Hydraulic press.For forging, the work piece is
heated to a proper temperature so that it gains required plastic properties before
deformation. The forging machine used here is a Long Forging Machine which consists
of four hammers each of which exerts a pressure of , about 800 tons.The hammers
operate through power and the pressure ; is applied using hydraulics. During operation
the temperature of the billet will be around 1180- 1200 degree Celsius and at this
temperature it is forged into the required axle shape. The hammers are made of special
steel alloy and hence water is sprayed during operation so that the hammer does not
wear out.

Figure 2.3 Forging

2.4 End cutting :


The forged axle is of excess length than the required hence this excess material from both
the ends is cut off using a gas torch.The end cutting machine consists of two gas torch
whose centre distance can be adjusted depending up on the actual axle length.The required
oxy-acetytene gas at high pressure is used to cut the axle which is still at a higher
temperature (1000 degree Celsius).During operation, the two torches are fixed to a centre
distance equal to the sum of required length, shrinkage length (1%) and the torch thickness
and cutting performed. The high pressure (10 bar) gas flame is brought near the work piece
which is held by stands.

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AXLE MANUFACTURING

2.5 Cooling:
After end cutting and stamping the axle is still at high temperature. In order to do further
processing and enhance the properties of the axle, it must be cooled. Air cooling helps the
axle to loose heat by radiation.During cooling the axles are placed on a bed. Each cooling
bed is of 30 axle's capacity. Once the 30th axle is placed on the bed. it is air cooled for
about 2hrs 25mins. Heat from the axle is radiated out and forms thermal equilibnum with
the surroundings. Each axle after cooling is sent into The Normalizing Furnace.

2.6 Normalizing :
Once the cooling is done the axles are sent into normalizing furnace.

Normalizing consists of heating steel about 40-50 degree Celsius above its upper
critical temperature and if necessary holding it at that temperature for a short time
and then cooling in still air for at room temperature.
The cooled axles once entered into the normalizing chamber are placed on the
base of the furnace and fire is set on the sides of the furnace. The fuel used is high
speed diesel (HSD).
The type of structure obtained by normalizing will depend largely on the thickness of
cross section as this will affect the rate of cooling. Thin sections will give a much
finer grain than thick sections.

2.7 Quenching:
Not all types of axles require quenching. Only a few types of diesel axles are
quenched in quenching agent (polymer oil) for a period of 30 mins depending on the
carbon content present in the material of the particular axle.
Quenching is defined as sudden cooling of heated steel (metal) by dipping in cooling
agent or spraying cooling agent in order to obtain the work piece in a stable state
which induces certain properties iike hardness etc to the work piece material. A
mixture of polymer oil and water in the ratio 1:20 is used as quenching agent in
forging shop of RWF.
The axles which do not require quenching are sent directly to tempering chamber
after normalizing. Diesel axles are sent into tempering chamber after quenching.

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AXLE MANUFACTURING
Chapter 3

Axle Machining Shop


The axle coming out of Forging Chamber are of dimension greater than required, only
rough shape and have very rough surface. These axles cannot be used directly. Hence in
order to obtain exact dimensional, required shape and a perfect surface finish machining has
to be carried out.

Metal cutting is a process of removing a layer of material from the metal blank by means of
a tool, which is harder than the metal being cut. The layer of metal is removed is called as
chip and this removal is due to plastic deformation or controlled fracture in the metal blank.

3.1 Cutting tool:


A cutting tool is hard metal piece used for the removal of metal layer during machining. It is
made of material which is harder than the metal to be cut. Tools are usually made of High
Speed Steel (HSS), Carbides, Ceramics, and Coated Carbides etc.Chip removal in the metal
cutting process may be performed either by cutting tool having distinct cutting edges or by
abrasives used in grinding wheels , abrasive sticks etc. These abrasives have a very large
number of hard grains with sharp edges which remove metal from the work piece surface in
such operations as grinding.

Single point cutting tools having a wedge like shape; find a wide application on lathes and
slotting machines. Multi point cutting tools have merely two or more single point cutting
tools arranged together as a unit. Milling cutter, drill bit, grinding wheel, broaching tools are
some of the examples.

3.2 Chip formation:


In the process of metal cutting, as the cutting tool moves forward, The work piece material
ahead of the tool passes through the shear Plane. The advancing tool removes the work
piece metal along the shear Plane in the form of chips.The chips formed may be
continuous chips, continuous chips with built-up edge or discontinuous chips.A continuous
chip is formed when the workpiece material is ductile.Continuous chips with built up edge
are formed when alloy steels, tool steels etc are machined where large cutting forces are
required.

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AXLE MANUFACTURING

3.3 Coolants:
During metal cutting extensive heat is generated due to the friction between the tool
and work piece Also, as the chips slides up the tool face, heat is generated due to
friction at the contact points between chip and tool face.
The excessive heat thus generated can damage the microstructure of both the cutting
tool and the work piece. In order to reduce the effect of friction or heat
generated,Cutting fluids are used.
A cutting fluid or a coolant is a liquid, added to the cutting zone to reduce effects of
friction between the tool- work and tool-chip interface by way of cooling and
lubrication A cutting fluid must have high specific heat, thermal conductivity,good
lubricating oil, non-corrosive, and non-toxic, odorless and must have low viscosity

Figure 3.3 Cooling Process

A coolant may be oil based (containing petroleum) or chemical fluids containing synthetic
oils etc.Machining of axles is carried out in various steps. It begins with initial rough turning
followed by drilling, reaming, tapping, smooth turning and finally grinding.The different
machining operations of axle are carried out either by conventional method or by
programmed CNC machines in Rail Wheel.In the conventional method the operator needs to
guide all the Operations such as loading, unloading, feed, speed etc. The movement of each
carriage or tool operation can be controlled at any instant by the operator. The dimensional
accuracy obtained is in milimeter (mm) range.

In the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines a program is initialy designed for the
different operations of the axle and is fed into the system which activates the machine.The
operations are carried out automatically once the machine is switched ON. A few
parameters can be varied in the fixed program.

Chapter 4
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AXLE MANUFACTURING
Operations on Axle
4.1 Station 1 : End Milling,Centering and Cup Turning
The rough surface axle coming from the forging shop is sent to station 1 in the machining
shop were End milling; centering and Cup turning operations are carried out.The forged
axle after under going various heat treatment process will have excess length and this must
be cut to the required length with little amount of tolerance which is left for further
machining.This excess material is removed by milling operation. The excess material is
removed at the ends of the axle hence called as end milling.

4.2 Station 2:- Rough Turning


Turning is a machining process used for the generation of external and conical surfaces on
a rotating work piece by means of a single point traversing cutting tool. The process is
performed on a lathe; where in the cutting tool is fed against a rotating work piece.The
forged axle has scales and excess material on its surface. In order to remove this excess
material rough turning is carried out through out the surface of the axle.The exact shape of
the axle is obtained in this process and the surface of the machined axle after this operation
is rough.

4.3 Station 3: Drilling. Reaming and Tapping


After rough turning of the axle, threaded holes are drilled at the two ends surfaces
in order to fix the bearing to the axle.

4.3.1 Drilling
Drilling is a machining operation of producing a cylindrical hole in a solid work piece
by means of a revolving tool called the Drill bit. Drill bit is also called as twist drill
since it has sharp twisted edges formed around a cylindrical body. It is made up of
HCS.

4.3.2 Reaming:
Reaming is the operation of finishing a previously drilled hole to bring it to an exact size
and to improve the surface finish of the hole.The operation is earned out using a multi
tooth revolving tool caller Reamer, which consists of a set of parallel straight or helical
cutting edges along the length of the cylindrical tool.This operation is carried out at a
speed lower than drilling in order to obtain a good surface finish.

4.3.3 Tapping :

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AXLE MANUFACTURING
Tapping is the operation of producing internal threads in a previously drilled hote by means
of a tool called tap. The tap has threads cut on its periphery and is hardened to improve its
properties,The threads cut on the tap form the replica of the threads to be produced in the
work piece Taps are available in standard sizes.

To generate a specific size thread in the work piece, a hole with diameter smaller than the
size of the tap is first drilled using twist drill. To perform the tapping operation, the tool is
held rigidly in the spindle and is rotated at a speed less than drilling operation. The
rotating tap is fed slowly in the hole of the work piece to cut the material and produce
threads.

4.4 Station 4: Smooth Turning


The rough finish axle is now given a good surface finish by turning operation. A six edged
carbide tool is fixed in the tool holder and is fed against the rotating work piece. The feed
given is very less (approx .4mm/rev) in order to obtain the perfect finish.
The axle dimensions are same as required dimension, with tolerance of about 3-5
microns.This operations givse finishing to the body of the axle, while the dust guard and
the journal is finished by the grinding wheel.

4.5 Station 5: Grinding


The journal is the most important part of the axle since this bearing is seated
on it.

Hence the journal is given a perfect finish.This is done by grinding.

The shape of the grinding wheel is same as that of the axles,dust guard and
journals shape. Hence for diff. axles different grinding wheel must be used.

Two wheels are kept on both the ends to finish both the sides of the
axles. They operate one after the other.

In operation the workpiece comes near to the wheel and gets fixed. Now
the high speed grinding wheel approaches the axle due to which very fine
material layer is removed from the workpiece due to the action of abrasive
particles fixed on the grinding wheel.

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AXLE MANUFACTURING

Chapter 6
Advantages and Limitations
6.1 Advantages

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AXLE MANUFACTURING

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AXLE MANUFACTURING

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EPOXY GRANITE AS A MACHINE TOOL BASE

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