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GE Supplying Inspection System to Chinese Rail Wheel Producer

June 16, 2009
Taiyuan Heavy Industry aiming to build domestic marketshare

Taiyuan Heavy Industry Co. chose GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies to supply ultrasonic inspection equipment for its railway wheel manufacturing. GE’s says its advanced ultrasonic testing machines can inspect an entire wheel in 60 seconds, improving productivity for the manufacturing operation and cutting the cost of quality control processes.
Taiyuan is an industrial equipment builder that designs and manufactures rolling mills, forging presses, extrusion presses, cranes, mining machinery, large gears and gearboxes, and coke-oven machinery. It also produces its own component parts on a commercial basis, including flat-rolled steel, valves, axles, and train wheels.
The company is China’s only domestic manufacturer of wheel, axle, and wheel sets, and it’s actively working to develop high-sped rail axle and wheel products.
Zhiyuan Shen, vice general manager of Taiyuan’s Wheel and Axle division, said the group expects its working arrangement with GE will help it to build domestic Chinese marketshare for railway wheels.
GE is providing a turnkey ultrasonic inspection solution based on phased array technology. It was developed specifically for railway applications and, according to GE, “remains one of the most sophisticated solutions in the world for express train wheel inspections.”
The system uses two phased array probes to inspect the wheel from the tread surface to the rim surface. It’s said to be the most efficient method for express train wheel inspection, being able to complete the entire inspection in one rotation. “It takes one minute to finish the inspection of the entire wheel, including the wheel handling time,” according to GE. “The phased-array probes can be easily adjusted for the inspection of a variety of wheels, greatly improving the efficiency of the process and reducing the inspection cost.”