State researchers develop eco-friendly automated bearing cleaning system

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 22, 2021, 11:31 Updated : July 22, 2021, 11:31

[Courtesy of KRRI]

SEOUL -- A state railway research institute has developed an eco-friendly automated cleaning system for bearings used in trains. The new system will reduce the time required for maintenance.

Bearings are ring-shaped machine parts that are used to reduce friction and allow smoother rotation in moving parts such as a vehicle's engine and wheels. Used bearings are covered in the gunk of grease and microscopic metal shards that have fallen off from moving parts. Bearings are normally managed by hand. It takes about eight days for workers to disassemble, clean, and re-assemble an average of 64 bearings used for a train.

The state-run Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) said in a statement on July 22 that it has developed a cleaning system for locomotive bearings. The system uses high-pressure spray guns to spray eco-friendly cleaning agents and dip metal parts into a special cleaning solution to remove grease and dirt. Ultrasonic devices are also used to remove grease from parts where water sprays cannot reach. It takes about two days to clean 64 bearings.

The bearing cleaning system is currently being demonstrated in the central city of Daejeon. "We plan to commercialize the cleaning system after we upgrade the technology through demonstrations," KRRI researcher Kim Yong-ki was quoted as saying. The system will be commercialized through the transfer of technology to a private company.
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