Hydraulics are messy and electricity is costly. What can an industry use as a widespread energy-conversion solution? The answer is in pneumatics. These devices use compressed air so that items can move, slide or remain in position for long periods of time. Pneumatics can be found in nearly every industry, including the commercial transport sector. How are pneumatics used for rail roads? Practically every major assembly has air power behind it.
Pneumatic Engineering Feats
Turning a Corner
If you’ve ever watched a high-speed train take a corner, it looks like an amazing feat of engineering. You can thank pneumatics technology for the smooth and uneventful turns. Compressed air keeps each rail car on the track while forcing the cabin to remain level. The riders don’t notice much of a tilt as a result.
The compressed air also controls the individual cars so that they tilt when necessary. Without pneumatics on a rail transport car, those sharp turns would be challenging.
Coupling and Uncoupling
One of the basic applications of pneumatics technology is transferring energy or securing two items together, reports Chris Woodford with Explain That Stuff. The commercial transport sector connects vehicles and rail cars together with pneumatic couplers. Without these devices, cargo movement would be incredibly slow. In fact, they wouldn’t be productive or energy efficient at all.
Compressed air allows a rail car to connect or detach from another one. This technology is used throughout each day of the year, which makes it critically important for every industry.
Rail roads don’t limit their pneumatics use to just the functional aspects of the cars. There are countless interior conveniences that go along with each car, such as:
- Reclining seats
- Flushing toilets
- Water applications, such as basins
- Heating-and-cooling needs
Compressed air is cost effective in nearly any design. It allows you to have a comfortable experience on a rail transport car without noticing the ingenious components hidden within the structure.
The construction sector is full of vehicles that take on extreme loads around local railways. They might drive these loads off of the project site and onto the surrounding roadways. Pneumatics makes it possible for the vehicle to maintain a smooth ride whether it’s hauling a load or not.
The compressed air moves along with the load while automatically adjusting the vehicle’s height or orientation. This particular application reduces costs and wear on the vehicle as the years go by.
From a bad fuel pump to steering issues, every vehicle has its breakdowns from time to time. Rail cars can’t afford to have braking problems, however. Pneumatics are designed for reliable braking. They offer strength and adjustable parameters.
One of the major highlights of pneumatic brakes are their size and weight. They’re extremely compact, which allows the rail car to have extra space for other components. Considerable power is found within the brakes, and that fact produces a safe ride every time.
According to Hong Kong Education City Limited, pneumatics can take on the harshest conditions. Air doesn’t have the same properties as hydraulic oil or electricity. Compressed air can operate in nearly any temperature on Earth.
Subzero conditions can still be productive times when pneumatics are powering your rail cars. The air won’t freeze up or glitch. Engineers and technicians must simply pay close attention to the surrounding components and their temperature limitations.
Compressed air is perfect for cargo releases. Consider coal hoppers on a train. The rail car pulls up and drops its load with trapdoor action. Pneumatics control the trapdoors so that they’re always well timed. They also close with reliable strength. Being able to move cargo with ease is an important part of commerce around the world.