KLW developed the alternative to BA 004 and BA 314 – ULT 23 and ULT 25. New designs have better mechanical and thermomechanical characteristic and are reliable in operation. The wheels successfully passed laboratory tests.
At the end of 2016 – beginning of 2017 railway operators across the Europe faced to breakage of several wheels types BA 004 and BA 314. Defects appeared at the running surface and extended on the wheel disk. The wheels broke during service operation and sometimes caused derailments. These crack defects were possibly caused by high thermal stresses that provoked radial crack propagation in the wheel.
To enhance the railway safety and prevent accidents, European authority bodies such as VPI decided to tighten recommendations for the operation of BA 004 wheels, increasing the maintenance costs for our customers.
That is why, even though there was not KLW wheel involved, KLW had to carry out several actions in order to reply to evolution of customer needs.
Cyril Duhamel, Head of R&D and Product Policy:
– The BA 004 wheel case was well known at KLW and we always warned our customers about the evolution of standards and the mechanical limits of this design. Taking into account the sudden market evolution, we have made an alternative to our Ultimate design to replace BA 004 wheels.
The Ultimate 920 has been developed for 25 tons axle load, the highest axle load possible on European interchange network. We made declinations for BA 002 and BA 302 axles, it means that Ultimate can replace both BA 004 and BA 314 wheels.
Ultimate provides better mechanical, thermomechanical and acoustical performance than BA 004 and BA 314 and customers are getting interested by this technical solution. VTG, NACCO, ERR are already using Ultimate and we are sure that the volume will be still growing.
Additionally to the increase of safety, this evolution of the market can be considered as an opportunity for KLW to show its knowledge and resist to intense competition by technical evolution.