Coupling devices are elements related to the transmission of tractive forces and the maintenance of the mechanical connection of vehicles, which are built in the end sills in the longitudinal axis of the locomotive frame. On their sides, bumper devices are installed, which are responsible for driving the trainset vehicles and mitigating the collision forces, which ensures smooth running of the trainset.
The coupling bar assembly consists of:
•Draw gear, i.e. the element directly realizing the connection by coupling. There are four types of hooks: A, B, C and D. Depending on the application and type of coupling (continues/non-continues). For example, D-type hooks are used in locomotives and C-type hooks are used in coaches and goods wagons with non-continues coupling bar assemblies.
•The coupling shaft, which is the element responsible for supporting and guiding the coupling in the horizontal plane while driving. There are different types of guides adapted to the structure of vehicles.
• Shock absorber, which is an element used to dampen (reduce pulling) the coupling bar assembly, have a direct impact on the technical condition of the rolling stock, fluidity and ride comfort. In vehicles of the old type, shock absorbers were used, in which the element ensuring elasticity were, for example, conical spiral spring, ring springs, screw springs or rubber rings. Today’s modern designs of coupling shock absorbers use elastomeric elements, i.e. polymeric materials.
• Other elementsused to connect the shock absorber to the draw gear (e.g. split-muff coupling, hook bolt, coupling beam, etc.) and to connect the coupling device to the locomotive bed (screws, nuts, pins, etc.).
It is a set of elements responsible for maintaining the mechanical connection of railway vehicles. Screw couplings are made according to PN-77/K-88160 standard and have a tensile strength of 850kN (i.e. 85000 kg), as evidenced by the descriptions placed next to the couplings on vehicles’ end sill. The pulling force of such a coupling is a maximum of 300kN (i.e. 30000 kg).
They drive vehicles coupled together, keeping the vehicles at an appropriate distance from each other and mitigate the longitudinal forces that occur while driving. Longitudinal forces are caused by tractive force, i.e. when starting, driving and braking. One example of the action of longitudinal forces is the so-called running of vehicles on each other. High longitudinal forces occur during the process of kicking the wagons, when the wagons reach each other or when the speed changes rapidly.
The buffers thus flexibly absorb the forces that arise in the situations described above, thus affecting the smooth running of the train composition. Their work directly affects the comfort and safety of travelling. Buffers sleeves are commonly used. Their basic construction elements have not changed over the years – they consist of a sleeve, a box, a shield and a plate.
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