The increase of the axle load, especially in mining transport operations has increased dramatically over the last years. Axle loads above 35 Ton/axle are not uncommon nowadays and some operators are already running at loads above 40 Ton/axle. Pressures at the contact patch with the rail are enormous in these conditions, which means that these wheels are much more prone to suffer problems in service than in other conventional applications.
Railway freight wheels are usually mass produced using low cost steel and conventional process where price is the main (and sometimes the only) requirement. But considering the stringent requirements needed for heavy haul applications, conventional materials and processes are not suitable from a cost-benefit (and even safety) point of view.
CAF has developed wheels specifically designed for this application. The combination of using extremely clean steels, a balanced steel composition and tailored heat treatments make it possible to offer wheels less susceptible to suffer sub-superficial cracks, rolling contact fatigue and high wear rates when compared to conventional freight wheels. The result is a lower LCC costs and a safer train operation.