Friction Drive Hi-Rail Gear - Volvo Wheel Loaders

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Transporting Volvo Wheel Loaders via railroad tracks has been greatly simplified with the installation of Mitchell's innovative Friction Drive system. This remarkable technology allows the machine to effortlessly transition onto or off the tracks without the need for a conventional railroad crossing.

The Friction Drive system is ingeniously designed, featuring two key components: the front friction drive integrated discreetly into the wheel loader's front frame, just behind the front tires, and the rear friction drive seamlessly integrated into the rear frame, behind the rear tires. At its core, the system utilizes precision-machined rail wheels with a substantial 20-inch diameter, forged from hardened steel to ensure durability and reliability.

Central to the system is the cast drive hub, securely bolted to each rail wheel. This hub is meticulously engineered to engage with the machine's tires for smooth and damage-free propulsion. Its hydraulically adjustable design allows it to be raised and lowered, effectively lifting the wheel loader above the railroad track as the drive hub seamlessly embeds itself into the tires. This ingenious mechanism facilitates effortless movement as the machine's tires rotate forward or in reverse, driving the hub wheel assembly, thereby self-propelling the loader on the rail. Remarkably, this setup enables the machine to reach speeds of up to 20 mph on the rail.

For added safety, the Friction Drive system incorporates a series of alarms to alert the operator in case the drive hubs disengage from their full tire squeeze positions for any reason. Moreover, the machine's tires are specially adapted with a 28-ply configuration and strategically positioned to straddle the rail, making the process of transitioning onto the rail exceptionally straightforward. Once the machine is positioned over the rail, a simple articulation maneuver aligns the front and rear rail wheels.

To ensure precision, pre-set proximity switches are strategically placed at the articulation joint. These switches activate a warning light inside the operator's cab as soon as the rail wheels are properly aligned, guaranteeing a smooth and secure journey along the tracks. Mitchell's Friction Drive revolutionizes the way Volvo Wheel Loaders navigate railroad tracks, simplifying transportation and enhancing safety with its intelligent design and cutting-edge technology.