“The idea came about as we were looking for ways to grow our parts business,” Director, Parts Sales Levi Sweazy tells Trains News Wire. “Thousands of (cast) knuckles are replaced each year.” He notes that the low cost of cast parts left many railroads maintaining the status quo, instead of looking to innovate sooner.
Association of American Railroads requirements called for a static load test of 400,000 pounds and operating 600,000 cycles on a test rig. The company hopes to have full AAR approval by 2021-2022. In the meantime, with limited approval, the company will deploy 1,000 forged knuckles to both railroad and private owner customers in early 2020 for in-service testing.
While the cost is higher than the traditional product, the company sees an overall savings for the industry. “We think that both railroads and shippers will see benefits in fewer replacements and in-service failures,” Sweazy says.