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Identification and description of the metal working processes that are required to manufacture a train wheel and an automobile wheel rim.

  To identify metal working process To explain the processes required

The steel wheel is a mechanical device, which produce rotary motion by means of a disk or circular frame revolving an axis. The steel wheel can be used for heavy loads and traction services, such as truck and train. The size and contour of a specific wheel design is based on the load it must carry and the space limitation of the equipment on which it is used. The contour of the wheel composed of five parts; the hub, plate, rim, trade and flange. Classifications are based on service to which the wheels are applied are defined as: 1. Industrial car wheels for use on various cars such as those used in mining, railroads and transfer cars. 2. Crane truck wheels, for use in travelling, gantry, bridge cranes and floor-type changing and drawing machines. 3. Railroad freight car wheels, used according to their capacity and applications. 4. Heavy duty wheels, for used under railroad and electric railways car, rapid transit passenger cars and locomotives. Most wheels for railways and industrial services are manufactured either by forming a solid block of metal by a sequence of hot forging and rolling operations or by casting them directly from liquid into its final shape metal. Mechanically speaking, steel castings are considered inferior to hot forging and rolling products. The casting of steel is, however, the most direct method of producing a desired shape. Today, the steel wheel has been partially replaced by the aluminum alloy wheel on vehicles, especially light vehicles such as compact cars, Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) and others, and this trend is expected to continue and become more popular in the near future. The changeover has already been introduced in General Motors and Ford in the USA, where new vehicles are introduced with the aluminum wheels is now rolling off the production lines. There are at least four main reasons why wheel industries are now prefer to use aluminum alloy to replace wrought steel:

1. Aluminum alloy wheels are more loads worthy. As 1 kg of unsparing weight is generally equivalent to 10-15 kg of spring weight, and each 14’ of aluminum alloy wheel is less than 2.5 kg, the four wheels under a typical car can handle loads of about 100-150 kg of extra weight. (Unsprang weight means the weight put on the tire wheel, suspension or wheel area). 2. Excellent brake system. Aluminum thermal conductivity is about three times higher than that of steel. This physical property gives the wheel better brake reliability and longer life than the steel wheel. 3. It is fuel-efficient. Basically, a 1kg loads decrease on a car will raise mileage 5-8 meters for every litre of gas used. In other words, fuel-efficiency is raised about 8.5% for every 10% reduction in car weight. The one-third to one-fifth work saved will surely prolong the service life of the car engine. 4. Suspension improvements. The suspension system of aluminum alloy wheels is capable of responding much more quickly to changing surfaces and road conditions. This increased traction can improve vehicle acceleration, manoeuvrability and brake performance. It is particularly noticeable while driving at high speeds or on rough roads. However, in production of train wheel, most of the production lines still used steel instead of aluminum because train is considered as heavy weight vehicles. Besides that, to run on the steel and strong rail road, the train needs the wheels made of the very strength steel in order it can run well and there is no obstacle. Absolutely, the steel which is used to make the wheel must be made of strong steel too, otherwise it will cause the damages of the wheel, and it cannot stay longer to run on the railroad Therefore, both metal working processes, train wheel and automobile wheel rim will be explained briefly in the next chapter as the process may be differs in some part as it used different material.

Processes Required
Train Wheel
The production of the unit of the train itself was begun at the Yelahanka, Bangalore, India. The name of the company itself which have been produced the units of the train is Rail Wheel Factory, and it is the premier manufacturing unit of Indian Railways which have been enlarged to produce the wheels of the train too at 1984. It is an ISO 9001: 2000 and ISO 14001 certified unit for its business processes. The train wheels consist of the rings of wheels and the wheel itself. Both of them are made of the strength and circular alloy steel ingots. The processing and the manufacturing of the train wheels are conducted in the X steel mill. The circular ingots which will be used to produce the wheels of the train must have the cross-section more or less 280-400 millimetres. The ingots will be rolled on the round bars with the diameters 190, 200, 225, 250, up to 280 and 300 millimetres. Not only that, the ingots also will be rolled on the rectangular bars with dimensions 280x300 millimetres.

Casting Process
In producing a high quality of steel train wheels, most of the production lines will use pressure casting process. In pressure casting (also called pressure pouring or low-pressure casting), the molten metal is forced upward by gas pressure into a graphite or metal mold. The pressure is maintained until the metal has solidifies completely in the mold. The molten metal also may be forced upward by a vacuum, which also removes dissolved gases and produces a casting with lower porosity. Let us deeply see the manufacturing process that has been done in Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka, Bangelore, India. The Plant utilizes Railway scrap as raw material. The scrap is melted in three Electric Arc furnaces. The chemistry of the molten metal is precision controlled using Computerized Spectrometers. This enables precise control of steel composition during steel making for obtaining optimum metallurgical characteristics needed for tough service and long life. The casting is done in graphite molds, which are precision machined
Figure 1 Controlled Pressure Pouring

using forming tools. This ensures that all wheels are cast to the same dimensions and tolerances.

The Controlled Pressure Pouring Process is employed for casting. The molten metal ladle is placed in a chamber and sealed with an airtight cover. A ceramic pouring tube is attached to the cover. Compressed air, forced into the chamber, pushes the steel up through the pouring tube and into the graphite mold positioned over the tube. The steel fills the mold from bottom to form the wheel. As the steel is forced into the mold at a controlled rate, the wheel is cast to extremely close tolerances.

Rolling and Pressing Process
The outside part of the train wheel is the ring. This ring will be rolled in the ring rolling process. In ring rolling, a thick ring is expanded into a large-diameter thinner one. The ring rolling will work to the steels which have had the shape of rings or the circular ingots. All the parts of the ring will be rolled well by the idler roll, edging rolls and main roll. In this rolling process, there are two edging roles which roll the surface and the base face of the rings. The edging roll will press the circular steel ingots. The edging rolls will press the circular steel ingots so it will have more strength with the high density of steel. In rolling the train wheels, a roll mill of somewhat different construction is used. The actions of the different and various rolls circumventing wheel convert the rough circular forged ingot blank into the finished ring wheels. As the ring wheel rotates, the diameter of the ring is gradually increased because of rolls pressure. And, after the ring wheels have been shaped into the proper and final diameter, they are transferred to a pressing machine. It will also be treated in the dishing and sizing operation in the other machines.

Heat Treatment Process
The rail road wheels manufacturing should be in the high volume manufacturing and it is preferably done in three chucking setups. The next step after rolling and the pressing is the heat treatments. The heat treatments have the purpose to make the steels of the ring wheels become stronger. The heating process is based on the combustion of the natural gas. In the heat treatment, the ring wheels will be burned until the certain degrees of high temperatures and then it is will be treated with the cooling process. This step has the

purpose to change the compound and the micro structure of the steel in order to result the high and strength density of the steels. The wheels as cast are normalized in a huge rotary hearth furnace to improve metallurgical structure and relieve internal stresses. Quenching of the rim and tread area is done to increase their hardness. The wheels are shot peened to induce compressive stresses so that the cast wheels do not fail due to crack propagation in service. Each wheel is subjected to magnetic particle testing for surface flaws and ultrasonically tested for internal flaws to ensure maximum reliability.

Figure 2 Normalizing Process

Finishing Process
After the wheels have been treated in the heat and cool treatments, the next steps is the boring and finish turning machines. Alternatively, the wheels can be rough machined on turning machines and then transferred to turn mill centres for a combined boring and finish turning application. And for the axles of the ring wheels should treated in the boring machines. The boring have the purpose to make a hole in the axles and in the ring wheels so that, both of them have the precision holes and may be combined by the screws to make the best train wheels. In this boring process, the ring wheels are also treated in the vertical Boring mill. The rings wheels as the work pieces rotates and the cutting tools are stationary except for feed movements, and are mounted on the adjustable-height cross rail.

Among all the process which supports the manufacturing process of the train wheels, the rolling process has the important roles. Almost all the process like rolling, pressing, and heat treatment are done for giving the high density of the steels. However, the rolling process is the most advantages and the most important role among the others because there are some advantages of using this, they are: Long-lasting experience on machining of railroad wheels, Wide variety of vertical-turning machines, Single-source supplier for entire process and manufacturing system, Machine tool products designed for the highest rigidity and output.

Automobile Wheel Rim
In the other hand, the manufacturing processes of an automobile wheel rim may be a little bit differs from the train wheel. This is because, most of the automobile wheel rims are an aluminum wheel and it also will go through the milling process to produces holes for bolts and nuts. According to the history, the first light-alloy sheet wheels were used in DaimlerBenz and Auto-Union racing cars in the 1930s. In the 1960s, Porsche began the batch production of sheet wheels, which consisted of a wheel rim and nave. The first high-volume production of sheet wheels in Europe started in 1979 for Daimler-Benz cars destined for the USA. Through further development of the production process for wheel rims and naves, the

manufacturing costs were reduced markedly so that an aluminium sheet wheel has been produced in large numbers for the BMW 5 Series since 1995.

Figure 3 Flow Chart of the Processes

Casting Process
The aluminum ingot is melted in the proper uniform temperature arc-type electric holding furnace. After the molten aluminum ingot has attained the desired chemical composition, it is tapped (procured) from the furnace into the top of an open bottom mold in continuous casting machine in which the casting mold has been preheated in the hydraulic die casting machine and the temperature is high enough for casting. The size and design of the casting mold should have accurate dimensions to meet the requirements of casting equipment and techniques. After the aluminum liquid solidifies, it is continuously withdrawn from the mold to produce the semi-finished, rough wheel shape.

Forging Process
There is an alternative process to manufacture wheel rim instead of casting process, which is forging process. Forged is definitely the king of manufacturing when it comes to wheels. Top-notch quality. The forging process uses immense amounts of compressive force to shape the metal. Let me give you an example to make this easy to understand. Have you ever wrinkled aluminum foil and then tightened it as much as possible by hitting it with a spoon to shape a ball? If you have, this is essentially what forging is. Once that little ball is as small as possible it is extremely hard. This is virtually what happens during forging, to an infinite power. The piece is pressed between a Ram and an Anvil. (See diagram) Forging can produce a wheel that is stronger than an equivalent cast or machined part. During the process the internal grain is deformed and rearranged to the shape of the part. This deformation due to compressive force improves the strength uniformly throughout the entire structure of the wheel. As a result you have a stronger, lighter wheel.

Figure 4 Forging Process

Drilling Process
The rough aluminum alloy wheel is then transferred to the drilling machine where the punching of the hole in the centre is carried out on the press and the burr around the edge of the wheel is also trimmed out.

Heat Treatment Process
After the die casting, hub punching, burr trimming, which complete the hot forming operation, the aluminum alloy wheels are conveyed directly into a tunnel type continuous solution furnace where they are heat treated to a uniform temperature. The wheels emerge from this furnace are conveyed to the quenching unit where they are quenched to harden and thereby increase resistance to wear. The time of quenching varies depending on the thickness and diameter of the wheels. The time of quenching varies depending on the thickness and diameter of the wheels. After quenching, the wheels are conveyed through the age furnace where they are reheated and maintained at the proper tempering temperature so as to strengthen the duration of the material reaching to 220MPA, elongation to 70% and hardness between HV80100.

Finishing Process
After the above treatment, the rough aluminum alloy wheels can enter the machining steps to obtain the final dimensions that meet specified requirements. Those steps include refinishing the centre hole, polishing the front side of it, then vent hole drilling, treading, flanging, bore machining, rim profiling, inner side rear copy machining, leak testing, defeating, spray painting, baking, finish copy machining and bush inserting.

The wheels are then passed down to the automatic inspection line where they are checked for correct rim circumference, and thickness, for the thickness and height of the flange, for concentricity and diameter of the bore, location of hub with reference to rim, hub wall thickness, rotundity, and plate thickness. The rims of the wheels of the wheels are ultrasonically inspected to evaluate their internal quality.

The working processes of the manufacturing of train wheel and automobile wheel rims are a little bit different, but most of them are the same. The product must undergo casting process or forging process, drilling process, rolling and pressing process, heat treatment process and finishing process before it turn into final product that can be commercialized. In fact, the production line must be very particular with all the dimensions and size of the wheel, as the minor mistakes will lead to the major damage in the future. In a nutshell, the manufacturing of both train wheel and automobile wheel rim are complicated as it has to go several processes and it must be very particular about the sizing and dimension. But in this modern era, the existence of robot help us much in the production of wheel as well as other factory productions.

Main Sources
 Serope Kalpakjian, Steven R. Schmid, Manufacturing Engineering and Technology, Sixth Edition, Prentice Hall, 2010, 1180 pages

Supplementary Sources
 %20Yalahanka.pdf

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