How Are Forged Steel Wheels for Railroads Made?

Railroads made their start as early as 1550 in Germany with roads made of rails called wagonways. England laid their initial tram road in 1776 using cast-iron angle bars on wooden ties. Finally, in 1789, William Jessup, an Englishman, was the first to design wagons that could run the rails on flanged wheels.

As technology progressed, forged steel wheels became the norm, and manufacturers across the globe provided railroads with quality wheels for their cars. The forging process produces a more substantial product than cast or plated ones as it localizes mechanical strength characteristics. Thus, choosing a wheel forged from a quality manufacturer ensures you have higher productivity and fewer downtime.

Basic Steps to Forged Steel Wheels for Railroad Cars

The process for forging high-quality steel wheels takes time and hard-working equipment. Here are the basic steps taken to provide you with the best product:

  1. Wheel blanks are cut: Huge cylindrical bottom pour steel ingots are cut into precise wheel blocks based on designated weights. For example, freight cars require different steel weights and strengths than high-speed tram cars.
  2. Blocks placed in heated furnace: Next, each wheel blank is sent to a rotary hearth furnace to be heated to its appropriate heating zone, starting at 1600°F and easing up to 2300°F.
  3. Descaling of wheel blocks: Each heated block is then lowered into a de-scaler where it’s blasted with high-pressure water, removing any iron oxide scaling before it is forged.
  4. Forging begins: A 10,000-ton forging press flattens the super-heated block into a pre-form shape for rolling. In the first pass, the top of the wheel is formed. The second pass forms the bottom half of the wheel.
  5. Wheels go through a roller: Once heated and forged into basic shapes, the wheels are sent to the rolling mill. They rotate in contact with a pre-form in the plate area. The wheel is fully shaped once this step is completed.
  6. Manufacturer identification applied: After the forged steel wheels have gone through the roller, each one gets stamped with an identification number.

Trust Rockett Inc. for Your Forged Steel Wheels

Learning how the process works can be enlightening. At the end of the day, though, it’s imperative that you work with a quality manufacturer that can handle your unique needs. At Rockett Inc., we have decades of experience manufacturing forged steel wheels. We provide standard-sized wheels and can design and manufacture custom wheels.

As an ISO 9001 Certified company, providing high quality products and services is the norm. Our team can assist you with custom designing, metal fabrication, machining, and industrial powder coating services. To find out more about our services, please contact us today.

Call 601-939-2471 or request a quote online from Rockett Inc., Mississippi’s preferred manufacturer of forged steel wheels.

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