We have engineered Southern Technologies defect detectors and magnetic wheel transducers to work together for optimal performance over the system's lifetime.
Magnetic wheel transducers use electromagnetic induction to generate signals; a voltage is produced in an electrical conductor placed in a varying magnetic field. The wheel transducer has a permanent magnet wrapped in a precise number of turns of wire. Since the magnetic field is stationary, the transducer produces no voltage until a passing wheel causes the magnetic field to move through the winding.
The greater the rate of change in the magnetic field, the higher the signal level produced by the transducer. So signal strength is proportional to train speed – the faster the train, the stronger the signal. The strength of the magnet and the number of turns of wire also affect signal strength.
Not necessarily the most powerful magnet available, but a sufficiently strong magnet of known strength is key to predictable performance. In production, we qualify each magnet using a magnetometer with calibration traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology to ensure they are within the specified range. We wind each magnet in a specified number of turns of enamel-coated wire and seal the sensor inside the transducer housing using a potting procedure developed to secure the sensor for railroad working conditions.
The 2100-596 Dual Gating Transducer with Clamp Assembly mechanically clamps two gating transducers to the rail, thus eliminating the need to drill mounting holes. Its bracket is fully adjustable and allows for proper transducer alignment over a wide range of rail sizes. For optimum performance, the gating transducers must be precisely positioned in relation to the bearing scanner and mounted 1‑9/16 inches (3.97 centimeters) below the crown of the rail.
The wheel timing signals generated allow an STC defect detector system to:
- Coordinate bearing and wheel temperature measurements
- Determine a train's direction
- Calculate a train's exit speed
- Calculate a train's length
- Identify individual railcars and locomotives based on axle spacing patterns