For its client Strukton, a construction and rail company, MechDes developed a rail welding machine with an associated new welding process. From design and initial test setup to validation of the welding process in a factory environment. In the end, we also completed the realization of a first prototype machine.
Thermite welding is currently the way to connect rails in the main track. The aim was to develop a machine that makes a high-quality weld within thirty minutes, based on a Laser Hybrid welding process. The major advantage of this is that the warm-up and cool-down time is reduced and that the physical work on the track is reduced.
The contract was applied for and worked out in phases.
The aim of phase 1 was to arrive at a joint proposal/concept for adapting the test set-up, with which we had the idea of being able to arrive at a (continuous) welding process. This resulted in a complete weld that was within the set standards.
In phase 2, the detailed elaboration, building and testing followed. The underlying idea was that within six months we had a proof of concept with which we could demonstrate that the weld was manufacturable and reproducible, without inclusion and/or porosity.
Phase 3 included the development and realization of a prototype machine.