As per Persistence Market Research, the rail wheel and axle is expected to grow at the rate of 5% between 2020 and 2030
Railways have been the “lifeline” of majority of economies since the last few decades. Rail transport has also come a long way with governments looking to modernize the rail transport centres, so as to accord the status of “smart railways” therein. For instance – Spain’s International Union of Railways has collaborated with ADIF (Spanish rail infrastructure manager) for attaining the tag of “Smart Stations in Smart Cities”. Railway wheel and axle manufacturers are geared up to have this initiative materialized.
On the similar grounds, in countries like India, the “smart city mission” is being worked upon by the “Ministry of Railway and Ministry of Urban Development. Moreover, the metropolitan cities are witnessing substantial investment with regards to public transport infrastructure. High speed trains and bullet trains bear testimony to this investment. These factors are meant to be the key growth drivers to rail wheel and axle market in the upcoming period.
Railway Technology going “Digital”?
Digitization is all set to improvise on safety and operational efficiency in every walk of life, and rail wheel and axle factory is no exception. This digitization is slated to let customers obtain real-time information pertaining to position and movements of train. Also, metro trains are undergoing automation, which is also expected to catalyse the digital movement herein. It has been estimated that the energy consumption would lessen by around 42% by incorporating train automation. 5G networks are also getting included, which are expected to accelerate the market.
How about using Lightweight Materials?
“Being autonomous” is the dictum being followed in rail wheel and axle market in the current scenario. It has been reported that around 7 Bn passengers use trains for commuting every single year. Call for low fares and less time two-stroke are driving the autonomous technology. The computerized monitoring technology also helps in detecting failures in axles and wheels.
Rail wheel material, especially in Europe is the steel whose pearlitic structure does contain hard cementite lamellae that are resistant to “wear”. Initially, martensitic or bainitic structures found their presence in rail wheels. They fell short with respect to resistance to transformation in the operational use. As such, rail wheel accessories are chosen keeping the “point of equilibrium (operations staying unfazed even on transformation during operation)” in mind. The demand for these lightweight materials (steel) is expected to increase in the upcoming period.
Solar-powered Trains: The Inclination on which Future Rests
Solar-powered rails do overpower the diesel-powered trains such that the latter ones are equipped with double engine sections, whereas in the former ones solar gears replace a section. One could find solar panels installed on the bogies’ rooftops and second diesel compartment fixes batteries and electric motors. The voltage produced by these solar panels is 600-800 V, which is comparable to 750-800 V needed by railway engines. These trains are expected to contribute to another arm of revenue generation on the count of rail wheel and axle market.
Rail Wheel and Axle Types
The rail wheel and axle types are “3” in number. The locomotive axles have a larger weight capacity and adhere to EN13261 and AAR M-101, TB/T 1027 standards. Wagon axles come with two shifts, with lower production precision and single axle type. They are also capable of carrying large loads. Passenger car axles’ load capacity is small, with non-powered and powered types. These axles also operate as per the standards laid down for locomotive axles. The locomotive axles hold the largest market share.
Aftermarket Rail Wheel and Axle Parts
North America leads the aftermarket rail wheel and axle parts market, with PowerRail, Inc. ruling the roost. Being a certified AAR M-1003 distributor, it does make way for a broad range of products. Booth – GE and EMD locomotives are supported. PowerRail, Inc. offers its patented “New-UX” Program that tables a new-fangled product in lieu of rebuildable core that could be re-manufactured and recycled for the others.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has adversely affected the public transport. With social distancing and “work from home” being practiced inadvertently, the revenue generation has slowed down for the time being. So, the year 2020 is expected to recede in this sector. However, the year 2021 iis expected to come with some respite.
Rail Wheel and Axle Key Players
The key players in the rail wheel and axle market include Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Amsted Rail Company, Inc., Bombardier Inc., and Construcciones Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A.