EURAXLES is a 3 year R&D project lead by UNIFE – the European rail Industry association - uniting 23 partners across Europe including 6 axle manufacturers, 4 railway operators/IMs, 2 system integrators, 3 technology suppliers, 5 universities, 2 rail sector associations and 1 consulting firm.
EURAXLES aims to bring the risk of failure of railway axles to such a minimum level that it will no longer be considered as a significant threat to the safe operation of the European interoperable railway system; at the same time, it shall keep the cost of maintenance to a reasonable level and minimise the risk of service disruption.
To ensure the minimisation of risk of fatigue failure for 3,5 million axles potentially in service in Europe, an innovative concept and approach is needed that must be taken at European level and with the involvement of the major stakeholder in this field.
The EURAXLES project proposes a global concept approach for axles design, production and maintenance including:
1. A design approach will be developed, including a risk analysis method which could offer a simple design route by combining loads with difference occurrences including loading specificity of vehicles and service conditions together with the axles resistances, including new materials and methods in order to predict the failure probability.
2. New developments will also include
(i) improved axle protection against corrosion, including protection of already corroded axles;
(ii) improved adhesion of coatings with a study of the roughness influence (adhesion and fatigue behaviour);
(iii) new, innovative coating solutions. The new solutions will also aim to fulfil environmental requirements to avoid or limit VOC emissions.
3. Simplified improved/new NDT inspection methods will allow the in-service inspection of axles in order to guarantee safe service conditions with a low impact on the vehicle availability.
4. A RAMS/LCC analysis of the solutions will be carried out.
The railway transportation system requires a risk analysis of the safety components. Activities will improve design validation and inspection technologies of axles which will optimise costs, safety and environmental compliance to be shown with RAMS/LCC analyses. Results will be disseminated to the different stakeholders and the European standards/regulations for railway axles and wheel sets will be improved across Europe.
The EURAXLES global concept will not only guarantee the current level of safety, but improve it in an interoperable network at optimized cost.