WHEEL INSPECTION: A laser system for the inspection of wheelsets and running gear has been successfully deployed by Polish passenger operator PKP Intercity.

Developed by Polish company Graw and Germany’s LAP, the system uses lasers to measure tyre and flange profiles and running gear geometry with high precision, making it easier to identify gradual changes in angles and radii which may result in increased fatigue.

The equipment is installed at the entrance to the maintenance shop, where it automatically checks every train as it rolls in at speeds up to 20 km/h. The sensors are fully enclosed, ensuring they operate accurately at temperatures ranging between -30°C and +60°C and humidity up to 98%.

Wheel diameters are measured to an accurancy of better than 0·5 mm, while other wheel parameters are measured to about 0·2 mm and the diagonal line of the bogie to within 0·5 mm.

PKP Intercity rolling stock has been equipped with RFID tags, enabling measured values to be assigned to individual wheels and entered into a database. The graphical output allows engineers to track the evolution of measured values and optimise the scheduling of repairs.