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Casting of railway sleepers goes like clockwork

Published 2022-08-09

Casting of railway sleepers goes like clockwork

Railway rails

Bengt Johansson and his colleagues at Sateba, a manufacturer of concrete grinders for railroad tracks, have been using two Celsicom TC603s for a year to monitor the strength of castings. Bengt’s verdict on these yellow “concrete computers”: a very affordable and simple measurement solution with impressive battery life and unbeatable reliability.

– Our previous system for measuring strength worked in much the same way, but was much more cumbersome. With Celsicom Easy Connect, everything is much easier and we save a lot of time on administration,” says Bengt Johansson.

European concrete grinder manufacturer Sateba has two production units in Sweden. One in Långviksmon just north of Örnsköldsvik and the other in Kungsör west of Eskilstuna. The total annual production for Långviksmon and Kungsör is around 240,000 concrete sleepers. Two main types of sleepers are produced: 2.5 meter long and 257 kg heavy line sleepers for railway rails around the country and sleepers for metro and tramways. The size of these sleepers varies between 2.10-2.75 meters and 150-190 kilograms.

-There is a constant need for concrete grinders to continuously maintain train tracks across the country. Most often, this involves replacing wood grinders that are approaching the end of their 20-year lifespan. However, occasionally older concrete sleepers need to be replaced (the technical lifetime of these sleepers is about 50 years).

Bengt Johansson is Factory Quality & Environmental Manager for the production units in Långviksmon and Kungsör. It is at the Långsviksmon site that Celsicom Easy Connect is used in the daily production of 432 sleepers. These are made in molds with space for casting 24 2.5 meter long sleepers that are cast together in 10 meter lengths.

Bengt Johansson

The battery life is really impressive!

In addition to the long battery life of the Celsicom TC603 boxes, Bengt Johansson is also impressed by their reliability. – The boxes have not clicked once,” he says.

Bengt Johansson

Factory Quality & Environmental Manager

The molds are filled with a proprietary recipe of self-compacting concrete that is left overnight before Bengt and his colleagues check the curing process in the morning. The concrete needs 16-18 hours to reach the right strength, after which the sleepers can be removed from the molds and cut into the right lengths.

– The way our previous system worked was that we had to carry heavy measurement boxes into the office every week, plug them into the computer and transfer the measurements. At the end of each week, we also had to bring the boxes in and charge them over the weekend because the batteries had run out.

There was a lot that was unnecessarily heavy and difficult to work on. And it felt anything but a modern way of working, says Bengt. It is different with Celsicom Easy Connect. The measurement solution really lives up to its name.

– The Celsicom system is very simple. As it is cloud-based, everything is gathered there. I don’t have to haul measuring boxes to the office every week, and instead can easily log on to the computer and see the concrete status directly. Every Friday I then download the week’s castings and save all the measurements on a server,” says Bengt.

The cost aspect is of course not unimportant. In fact, the previous meter boxes cost several times more than current yellow concrete computers. Another clear advantage is that more people can have access to the same information in an easy way.

– All the guys on the floor who want to have a login to Celsicom Easy Connect. When they start at five o’clock in the morning, they can go into the system and check how it looks, whether the concrete is ready or not.

What else do you like about Celsicom Easy Connect?
– Battery life! I recently changed the batteries for the first time in one of the boxes. Two small AA batteries have given the box the energy to measure every five minutes and transmit around the clock – for over ten months. I think that’s really impressive.

Sateba casting of sleepers image 2

– Operational reliability is also outstanding. The boxes have not clicked once. It has worked perfectly,” adds Bengt.

– Concrete sounds very boring. However, there are constant developments in both the concrete itself and the surrounding regulations. It is important to constantly improve and find new solutions to meet the requirements of both clients and authorities. For example, to be an approved supplier, we are required not to exceed a certain CO2 level per sleeper. One of our major challenges going forward is to find ways to further reduce carbon emissions. It is such challenges that make the job interesting and exciting.

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Thomas Ottosson


Thomas Ottosson

Area of responsibility: Industrial and stationary
031-704 10 87
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