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High strength steel for improved working conditions

SSAB Tunnpl : 14 July, 2003  (New Product)
These are some of the benefits that the Oxel
Large quantities of steel arriving daily by rail are loaded and unloaded at the Oxelösunds Steel Port. Three teams work in shifts to deal with the high production rate at the steelworks. Much of the work is mechanized, but the load securing arms fitted to the wagons must be operated manually. High strength steel has enabled the wagon manufacturer, Tatravagonka, to halve the weight of the locking arms. The result for the personnel at the Steel Port is that the lighter locking arms have eliminated the risk of strain injuries.

'In the past, we regularly had a couple of men on sick leave due to injuries caused by lifting the old, heavy locking arms, but the problems have now been eliminated,' explains Anders Berg, who is in charge of the Steel Port in Oxelösunds. 'The new locking arms are much simpler to use, since they are half the weight of the earlier ones. Once you start using the arms you realize that the new steel really is better. Even though the locking arm is lighter, it feels much more rigid and stronger than the earlier one. It seems to be more durable, and it also speeds up our work.'

The steel used by Tatravagonka is an advanced high strength steel from the SSAB Swedish Steel range of modern structural steels. The Slovak designers have specified the Domex 650 MC hot-rolled steel. The material has very high strength and a minimum yield strength of 650 MPa. The steel is widely used for vital safety parts of vehicles, for which low weight and high strength are essential requirements.

The new wagons are important in allowing the Steel Port to handle the growing volumes.

'The load carried by an individual train is constantly increasing, and the wagons and their performance must be continually developed to keep up our freight schedules without putting safety or the load at risk,' continues Anders Berg. 'Parts such as the new locking arms are also important and are decisive to our ability to meet our targets. This improves the transport economy for customers, but without putting our health at risk.'

Every new railway wagon is equipped with 12 load-securing arms that must be lifted before the wagon is loaded and must then be lowered after loading. A shift that works on loading can handle about 15 wagons per shift. The new locking arm is 10 kg lighter than the earlier arm. So the men on the team have 3600 kg less to lift per shift.
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