The International Wheelset Congress (IWC) provides once every three years.
It´s a unique opportunity for experts on the manufacture of wheelsets and their components, for academic community and for specialists on the manufacture, operation and maintenance of rail vehicles, to exchange their experiences.
Although wheelsets is a narrow and specific topic, it is also a global one, therefore the gathering of researchers, designers, but also dealers and buyers, rotates around the world. The first congress was held in Italy in 1963, this year the host country was the United States, but in the interim it was hosted also by Australia, Japan, South Africa and China, but also by the Czech Republic and Germany. GHH-BONATRANS, as the leading supplier of wheelsets, has been a regular major IWC player. In 2007, the Bohumín-based BONATRANS was the organiser of the event held in the Prague Congress Centre.
This year’s event, which took place from May 8 to 15, was hosted by Chicago, the most important railway centre not only in the U.S., but in the whole of North America. Some two hundred delegates listened to seventy presentations concerning various aspects of wheelsets. The conference included expositions of twenty exhibitors. GHH-BONATRANS, in its role of a silver sponsor, presented seven papers, namely by Lukáš Pacas, Libor Kovář, Petr Janoš and Ondřej Peter (jointly with Pavel Pokorný), and on behalf of GHH-Radsatz by Thomas Gerlach, Mirco Janßen and Torben Lehnert. Thus altogether seven papers were presented, each of them summarising the results of many years of research.
Lukáš Pacas in his paper acquainted the audience with the design of the noise suppressor for heat stressed wheels. Symbolically the youngest speaker of the Congress, he introduced the latest product innovation of the BONASILENCE®D web silencer. Libor Kovář presented a comparison of the resilience against abrasion that occurs between the wheel and the rail, for different steel grades used in the manufacture of railway wheels. The goal of this long-standing research project is to find an optimal solution for each client (i.e. vehicles and operating conditions), known under the brand name BONASTAR®. Petr Janoš focused in his presentation on the design of a press-fitted wheel-axle joint resistant against circumferential slippage, and Ondřej Peter with Pavel Pokorný talked about inspection intervals of axles determined from the propagation of fatigue cracks. Thomas Gerlach presented the methods of developing wheels with low emissions of rolling and high-pitched noise, sold under the brand name GHH®SILENCE. Mirco Janßen’s presentation dealt with implementing the RDI technology for unique identification, and Torben Lehnert about increasing the coefficient of friction of press-fitted wheel-axle joints by using special metal coatings.
In harmony with our tag-line of many years, “Pioneers of wheelset solutions“, in Chicago we verified that our research and design teams are still the world top. We also presented some of the topics to clients in the U.S. as well as other countries. And it’s not something negligible. Another episode of the IWC serial will be played in 2026 in one of the countries of Europe. And it will pay off to find out when and the venue where it will be held, closes Marcel Ujfaluši, the head of Business Development and Marketing at GHH-BONATRANS.