This contribution deals with the numerical and experimental characterization of the structural behavior of a railroad switch machine. Railroad switch machines must meet a number of safety-related conditions such as, for instance, exhibiting the appropriate resistance against any undesired movements of the points due to the extreme forces exerted by a passing train. This occurrence can produce very high stress on the components, which has to be predicted by designers. In order to assist them in the development of new machines and in defining what the critical components are, FEA models have been built and stresses have been calculated on the internal components of the switch machine. The results have been validated by means of an ad-hoc designed experimental apparatus, now installed at the facilities of the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Bologna. This apparatus is particularly novel and original, as no Standards are available that provide recommendations for its design, and no previous studies have dealt with the development of similar rigs. Moreover, it has wide potential applications for lab tests aimed at assessing the safety of railroad switch machines and the fulfilment of the specifications by many railway companies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited