A national railroad freight company called and requested a complete overhaul of their 40-year old locomotive wash. This 1970’s era locomotive wash system consisted of three different wash arches – a wetting arch to wet the locomotive, a second arch for soap application and washing, and a third arch with an acid wash for surface brightening.
The wash system was overhauled with to improve the following metrics:
- Improve the wetting stage process by increasing both water volume and pressure as well as the nozzle design to apply the wetting water on the locomotive; and
- Improve the soap application process by redesigning the nozzles’ flow patterns and volumes, increasing total flow to the nozzles, and finally adding additional pressure the process.
We started the overhaul process by removing the old soap and rinse pumps as well as the associated wiring and conduit. All of the existing control panels and associated conduit and wiring were also removed. Some equipment was retired in place to reduce demolition, re-piping and re-wiring costs. We then installed the following new equipment:
Control Panel – A new stainless steel control panel was mounted, which replaced the existing four electrical panels. New conduit and heavier wire was also installed to bring it up to existing codes. The dual electric eyes were re-wired back into the new panel. New liquid level floats were installed in the storage tanks to provide both fluid level control, as well, as provide new a pump shut down safety, in the event of a low water condition in the water storage tanks.
Wetting Pump – A new 15 hp, cast iron pump was installed to supply water to the wetting arch. New, larger PVC piping as well as new heavier electrical wire was installed through new conduit to supply the proper amperage for the new higher horsepower pump.
Soap Pump – A new 15 HP stainless steel pump was installed for the new wash soap arch. New heavier wire was pulled through new conduit to supply the proper amperage needed for the new pump. The new pump was plumbed into the existing PVC piping in the pump house.
Wash Tunnel Nozzles – The existing nozzles could no longer be utilized due to flow and pressure differences from the new pumps. The existing nozzles were removed and replaced with a set of brass nozzles. A total of 42 new nozzles were installed in all three arches.
Rinse System Pump – The existing 100 hp motor and pump were removed and a new 25 hp motor and pump was set in place, aligned, and bolted to the exiting pump base.
Rinse System Control System – A new PLC-based control system housed in a stainless steel panel was installed and integrated with the existing control wires. New wiring was installed from the original motor controller system to the new control panel.
Rinse System Nozzles – The original nozzles, which were sized for the flow from the one hundred horsepower pump, were removed and new brass nozzles were installed.
The entire overhaul took less than a week to install and brought the whole wash system into the 21st century! The client has been very happy with its performance.