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January 26, 2017
Building a Better Whole: NRE Parts & Structures
If the whole is going to be greater than the sum of its parts, those parts need to be the best they can be. NRE locomotives are the best in the business because every structure, assembly, component and technical feature is carefully engineered for top performance. That NRE craftsmanship is there for all clients, whether they're looking for a locomotive fully built by NRE or the components, parts and structures to repair existing equipment.
NRE has the know-how and capability to design and manufacture the custom fabricated structures for your fleet, from FRA 229.217 compliant, crashworthy fuel tanks to FRA 229.141 compliant cabs, noses, underframes, draft gear pockets and anti-climbers. Each piece manufactured by NRE goes through a stringent process to make sure it meets and exceeds usage and safety parameters.
NRE's fuel tank is a case in point. Tom Bonner, NRE's Shop Supervisor, said that quality control started from the ground up to ensure safety. “The fuel tank design was run through an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to check for any potential failures by means of a computer simulation to achieve a structurally crashworthy design,” Bonner said.
For a structure like a fuel tank, the end result is only as good as the quality of the welds. In recent years NRE revamped their welding process, purchasing high-tech equipment and bringing production in-house to ensure top quality.
“All of our welders are AWS D1.1 certified,” said Bonner. “Additionally, with the track welders we have in house, the required welds run the full length of the tank and are one continuous weld.”
Once completed, the fuel tanks are carefully checked for quality control.
“The fuel tank and the internal retention tank are pressure-tested for leaks to ensure no leaks are present at the completion of the tanks,” said Bonner.
No detail is too small at NRE. Gary Garich, Engineer at NRE, noted that NRE maintains quality control documents — detailed engineering specifications and instructions — that cover everything from tolerances for machined/fabricated parts and assemblies and leakage testing to paint preparation and application.
NRE isn't just about the parts that do the “heavy lifting” side either. Developed by the NRE Electronics division, NCOMPASS offers real-time location and operational information on your mobile assets, with wireless technology that enables all your assets, worldwide, to be connected. Data available through NCOMPASS includes GPS, idle time, mileage, kilowatt hours, odometer, excessive speed reports and much more. Chelsi Langa, Production Coordinator at NRE Electronics, said that products developed by NRE Electronics include, but aren't limited to:
NLIMIT – Reduces fuel consumption and exhaust emissions by monitoring locomotive operating parameters and automatically shutting down and restarting the engine during appropriate locomotive idle times.
NLIGHT – Locomotive light fixtures featuring LED technology.
NGAUGE – Customized, state-of-the-art liquid level/volume sensors built on GWR (Guided Wave Radar) technology. A high-speed pulse is launched down the probe, reflects off the surface of the liquid and returns to the probe. The total flight time of the pulse measures the liquid level.
NFORCE - A powerful microprocessor that controls various locomotive systems. Based on a modular concept, new functions can be added to the NFORCE system at any time without having to alter the overall system.
Whether it's the “heart” or “brains” of the locomotive, NRE develops and provides the latest and highest-quality equipment and technology.