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Long-term planning – tooling solutions for rail and switch

Standard tool and customized form cutters are raising the bar for tool life and metal removing rate Q significantly

To begin with, a few facts and figures: Passenger transport in Germany accounts for 1,238 billion passenger kilometers per year. Of this, 8% is traveled by rail, 6.5% by the public transport mix of underground and suburban trains,bus, and by plane 5.6%. The lion‘s share (79.9%) is accounted for by private transportation, i.e. motorcycles and cars including taxi and rental cars.

Incidentally, these figures can also be used to calculate the risk of injury: The train is 133 times safer than the car. The network length in Germany is around 40,000 km with over 66,000 switches and crossings. The tram network is 3,000 km long. The 16 S-Bahn networks, with those in major cities such as Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Munich being among the largest in Germany, cover a good 5,000 km. Every year, the federal government provides the federal states with around 8.8 billion euros in funding for local passenger services (rail). With an annual increase of 1.8% until 2030. In 2023, DB AG modernised and renewed around 2000 km of track (i.e. 4000 km of rails) and 1800 switches. One kilometer of track extension for local and long-distance transport costs around 12 million euros and each kilometer of electrification 2 million euros.

AVANTEC became deeply involved in the topic of rail and switch processing three years ago. We presented our solutions in various production facilities and were given the opportunity to test our tools. In manganese steel, as in the case of rails for local and long-distance transport, or in Hardox, which is used for underground railway, city railway, and trams because it is more resilient due to the tight curvature, we have applied our milling tools in both materials for the special milling operations for the various rail shapes (vignole, crane, groove).

We didn‘t always achieve a better solution than the status quo, but the learning effect has finally set in; today we are successfully working on the grooved rail, (switch) frog, fishplate chamber, and rail ends. The results achieved by our tooling packages clearly raise the bar in terms of process reliability, tool life, and productivity.

Here are the key data for one of the realised projects: V-groove grooved rail, Xtra contour cutter, WKZ-Ø 300 mm, zeff = 7, radius indexable inserts with 3 cutting edges, tangential indexable inserts with 4 cutting edges, cycle time with 2 tracks per 3 m rail = 24 min, tool life = 72 m, Q = 290 cm3/min, reliable process. The targets were all met and in some cases exceeded. In short: Our long-term commitment to rails and switches has proven to be effective. For new, innovative AVANTEC solutions and for success with users.

| Grooved rails, switch frogs, fishplate chambers, rail ends
| Standard high-feed milling cutters and extra tools
| Optimized indexable inserts for Hardox and manganese steel
| Significant increase in productivity (Q) and tool life
| High process reliability and precision

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Customer magazine GO No. 15 download | PDF