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Adhesives & Lubricants for Train & Railway Maintenance

In this article, we explore top-performing adhesives & lubricants that rail manufacturers can use to optimise their maintenance processes.

Table of Contents

train maintenance
Photo credits: Brian Robert Marshall via Geograph

The Importance of Railway Maintenance

Although some repairs and maintenance are expected in the rail industry, unexpected issues and maintenance requirements can cause inefficiencies that can compromise a smooth operation. Quick, effective and economical adhesives & lubricants for train & railway maintenance ensure a smooth and seamless maintenance procedure, by allowing maintenance teams to choose a bonding or lubrication solution that is tailored to their specific needs.

Railway maintenance has increased in efficiency over the last decade as a result of the Digital Railway initiative. The Digital Railway initiative improves railway processes by connecting drivers to operation managers, optimising traffic management through new “traffic light systems” which signal the safe movement of trains, and utilising the communication of digital data wherever possible.

Maintenance for Different Purposes

Train & railway maintenance can be split into different sections, based on application and the relevant apparatus. Here we break down the main sections of railway maintenance.

Tracks

Over 20,000 miles of train tracks exist within the UK rail network. Tracks contain several elements which require maintenance in the railway industry in order for all operations to go smoothly. These include:

  • Rails – large panels of steel joined together.
  • Sleepers – supports which stabilise the track.
  • Switches and crossings – movable segments which can change the direction of a train from one track into another. These are particularly prone to wear and tear due to the forces exerted on them by moving trains.
  • Sets of points – movable segments which are used to control the switches and crossings.

Tracks are maintained through redistributing the ballast (stones), smoothing the track’s upper surface and maximising measuring equipment across them to identify any faults as soon as they happen.

Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) 

overhead line equipment

Overhead line equipment are the apparatus used to deliver over 25,000 volts to power electric trains through transformers and generators. They are essential equipment which the power efficiency and maximum speed of the trains depend on.

Problems affecting the OLE are the main causes of train delays. High winds causing misalignments, faulty electronic components, wildlife crashes, power supply failures or overheating are the main causes of OLE failure. One way to avoid these where possible is by using products that prevent the overheating and pre-mature failure of the electronic equipment used in the OLE; such as electronic encapsulants with high-temperature resistance.

Train Structure

The train structure is made up of various segments which require maintenance over time. These include:

  • Body panels
  • Bogie traction system (wheels)
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Wheels
  • Seating
  • Toilets
  • Electronic equipment

In the installation process, it’s important that these elements are bonded and lubricated sufficiently, with high-quality adhesives and lubricants, in order to maximise their performance and lifespan. General wear and tear affect all of these elements, in addition to weathering and mechanical stress, which makes maintenance an occasional necessity to ensure everything is in working order.

Adhesives & Lubricants for Train & Railway Maintenance

Double Glazing

Betaseal 1590CT is the leading product in railway direct glazing applications. It is a single-component polyurethane adhesive that provides fast-curing, chemical resistance and thermal stability. It has been used to seal large glass panels in trains and possesses the EN45545-2 rail certification.

Betamate 2700 is a two-component polyurethane adhesive that can be used to bond window panels in trains. It is usually used in combination with Betamate 7120.

Betamate 7120 is a single-component polyurethane adhesive that is used to seal the frame around glass windows in trains. It is UV stable and reduces the effects of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

Train Structure & Bogie Traction System

Molykote 55 O-Ring for door opening telescopic joints and door hydraulic braking system.

Molykote D-321 R is an anti-friction coating that can be used for metal/metal combinations exposed to slow to medium-fast movements and high loads – such as hinges, loaded slides and gears. It can be used to provide permanent lubrication, stable at extreme temperatures and under high vacuum.

Molykote BG-20 is a high-performance grease that can be used for metal/metal combinations exposed to rapid movements and medium to heavy loads – such as rack springs within the bogie traction system. It is stable over a wide temperature range, at high rotational speeds and has a low tendency for evaporation or oxidation.

Betaseal 1590CT can also be used for lightweight structural bonding of train panels. This is due to its high modulus and tensile strength combined with its excellent sag and bead stability.

Interiors

Molykote 111 is a lubricant that can be used for O-rings, valves and water taps in train toilets. It possesses excellent water resistance, thermal stability and compatibility with plastics. It also meets global standards for water contact, including the NSF 51, NSF 61 and FDA 21 CFR 175.300.

Molykote 33 is a lubricating grease that can be used for lubricating internal doors plastic gear mechanisms within trains. It provides great compatibility with plastics and is ideal for low-temperature environments.

DOWSIL 3-6548 is a two-part silicone rubber foam that can be used for the fire-sealing of pipes, cables and ductwork within train interiors. It provides a long-term seal, forming to complex and irregular shapes, preventing smoke and gas penetration through the seal.

DOWSIL 7091 is a silicone adhesive and sealant that can be used for the sealing and bonding of floors, shelves, ceilings and air duct collars within trains. 

Rail Infrastructure

Molykote 3400A is an anti-friction coating that can be used for metal/metal combinations involving slow to medium-fast movements and medium to heavy loads – such as track joints screws, exchange joints and junctions. It can also be used for springs and bearings in breaks, as well as servomechanisms.

Xiameter PMX-561 is a cooling and insulating fluid used to protect and fire-proof transformers. It possesses the IEC 836 and ASTM D
4652-92 certifications, being fit to electrically insulate transformers within OLE, reducing the likeliness of train delays.

Electronics

DOWSIL EE-3200 is a low-stress encapsulant that can be used to provide flame resistance and general protection to electronic components within trains, including junction boxes, inverters and converters. It prevents water ingress and provides good heat dissipation.

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EN 45545 Railway Applications

This white paper examines the european standard EN 45545 Fire protection for passenger railway vehicles.