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MODUL introduces an innovative method to examine fitting stops on container trains

   MODUL has patented the useful model of video endoscope control device to examine fitting stops on flat-cars

   As per regulatory documents of JSC “Russian Railways”, the flat-car fitting stops must be inspected before loading of containers. Inspection is made visually by car inspector who subsequently is to enter the data on technical condition into the “Form VU-14” log book. The following is to be checked during inspection: intactness of welds, presence or absence of cracks, breaks, deflections, condition of swing joints, lugs, handles, slats, etc. Such an inspection can be carried out only when fitting stops are free from containers on them.

   Normally a block train consists of 58-60 flat-cars, which can carry up to 60 units of 40’ containers or up to 120 units of 20’containers. In total, this amounts to 240 - 480 fitting stops. Visual inspection of such a number of stops requires a lot of time. In order to conduct inspection, all flat-cars with containers should be delivered to a container terminal, and then containers should be taken off the flat-cars with a crane or a reach stacker, following which it is possible to conduct visual inspection of each fitting. As soon as the checks are over and the data is logged, all containers are to be loaded back onto flat-cars.

   To improve quality and speed of such inspections MODUL has developed a method to check fitting stops when containers are on platforms without removing them, by means of a portable device - video endoscope.

   The video endoscope is mounted on handle of a telescopic rod. It has a screen, a joystick and a probe. The endoscopic camera is equipped with LEDs to spotlight the inspected item or its details. A car inspector switches on the device, brings the probe close to the item (detail) and conducts the inspection. Simultaneously the process of inspection is being recorded by the endoscopic camera onto portable data storage device.

   Adoption of this device makes it possible to determine technical state of fitting stops without removing containers off the flat-cars; it allows avoiding operations on additional spotting /removal of flat-cars with containers to/from the handling area and eliminates use of lifting equipment.

   Apart from the above the device helps to ascertain availability and numbers of seals secured on containers which are loaded on flat-cars door to door, without lifting containers off flat-cars.

   The device operates at sub-zero temperatures up to 30°С and is resistant to aggressive substances (oil, salt water, diesel fuel, etc.).

   Currently, this method to check fitting stops has been positively implemented at a number of stations of the Oktyabrskaya Railway: Kuptchinskaya, Gegezha, Nigozero. Introduction of the innovative method of video endoscopes at other stations and railways will offer an opportunity to quickly address operational challenges in handling container block trains and will expedite railway traffic as a whole.