Wisconsin Patent of the Month – November 2021

Railways draft vehicles are used to move railcars along their track. These usually have rubber-tired traction wheels as the higher coefficient of friction helps to increase pulling power compared to steel wheels. The initial movement is still a challenge, especially under wet or icy conditions. With rubber tires, operators often use a dual pressure system. The key drawback is that operators often forget to switch back to the other pressure, and therefore the vehicle operators with excess vehicle weight applied to the traction wheels. This more quickly wears down the wheels.

Nordco, Inc. has an extensive history of innovating products that make it possible for real-related industries. Recently, they developed a traction system for railcar movers which offers a better system than the traditional methods. Their traction system can get a railcar moving from a dead stop condition without wearing the tires down. Their design uses vehicle loading which automatically balances the vehicle throttle RPMs so that enhanced tractive effort is applied to initiate load movement. This prevents tire slippage on the tracks, even in rough conditions. A series of motion sensors monitor the movement of both the rail guide wheels and the engine drive shaft. A feedback loop is created once the operator presses an “engage” button. The vehicle throttle is then automatically increased by a preset RPM. If the rail guide wheels are rotating, the load is moving, and no further operator action is taken, the system soon reverts back to operator control. If driveshaft speed increases and the rail guide wheels are not rotating, the system notes the rubber-tired traction wheels are slipping on the rail and further operator action can be taken.

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