With only eight inches of space in which to fit a torque wrench to tighten the traction motor bolts on their train cars, CN Rail was forced to use a variety of cumbersome tools to get the job done, including an offset gearbox and a hydraulic wrench to apply the torque. These tools had no torque setting on them, so the team at CN Rail also needed to do a manual check to make sure it was torqued correctly.
After years of making this work, they knew it was time to find a better (and easier) solution.
Engineering the Right Fit
CN Rail had been using the E-RAD BLU torque wrench on their locomotives and had grown to like the tool, so they wanted to find a way to use the E-RAD on their traction motors. They approached the RAD Torque Systems team to figure out if they could engineer a better solution to their problem.
In order to gain a better understanding of the issue, the RAD engineering team went to the CN site to take measurements of the traction motors, the total space, and the bolts. With the specific requirements of the job in mind, the RAD team designed a customized version of the E-RAD 3000 Offset that would fit the traction motors.
The initial drawings were sent to CN team for approval and then a prototype of the new torque wrench was created. Then the RAD engineering team went to the CN site once again to test the prototype.
Three months after that initial visit, the CN Rail team had a new tool.
Working More Efficiently
Today, CN Rail has a more efficient way of tightening the traction motor bolts, with a torque of 2250 ft. lbs. Plus, the E-RAD 3000 Offset is capable of data collection, which means every bolt that is torqued is recorded and can be downloaded to ensure it was done properly.
By working with RAD Torque to create a customized tool, they have now reduced the number of tools they need on the job. They’ve also reduced the number of employees needed to do the job, from two down to one. And, they are able to tighten traction motor bolts three times faster. More importantly, the company is very happy with the outcome.
If your bolts are in awkward spaces and your team is using old or multiple tools to get the job done, consider speaking to the RAD Torque team about how we can customize a solution to fix your challenge.