Railway maintenance is one of the most important aspects of keeping the railways safe and reliable. Due to the UK’s ageing fleets, rising maintenance failures are all too often causing costly downtime and setbacks that are a constant concern to the train operators and depots that maintain the fleets.

Maintenance is costly and can be inefficient and labour intensive. With rising pressure for rail performance to improve, it is important for the maintenance process to meet today’s demands from an ever-increasing travel population. This is why Yorkshire manufacturing business Oilaway has developed a system that helps to create an optimised vehicle servicing solution, by providing the market place with a comprehensive range of fluid removal and dosing equipment.

Natural development

“We have had a number of successful forays into the rail market over the years through our long standing sister company, AutoDrain. Rail companies have become aware of us and have made contact, seeking help to create an efficient maintenance package that deals with their specific needs. This interest has led us to branch out and become a multi-disciplined provider, delivering to a range of maintenance workshops. We have been delighted with the level of interest Oilaway has generated from our new business venture,” explained managing director Paul Dixon.

The basis of the Oilaway system is a simple yet ingenious piece of design, replacing the standard drain and sump plugs with a bayonet style connector. By using this connector, servicing can be carried out immediately whilst the oil is still at maximum operating temperature. Critically, this helps to eliminate the risk of spillages and operators’ contact with carcinogenic waste oil.

The unique adaptor can also then be used to refill clean oil directly back into the sump plug for an even faster turnaround. Not limited to just oil, the Oilaway system also provides a multi- functional process as it is compatible with a wide range of equipment such as diesel engines, transmissions, gearbox, coolant and hydraulic systems.

Stacey Clarkson, responsible for UK sales, commented: “We have clearly indentified an area of concern to rail businesses, and they have been quick to recognise the benefit of our system. Of course, the safety and environmental benefits of controlling waste lubricants are a significant factor, but the railways also need to be efficient by saving cost on time and labour. Draining waste fluids the traditional way through a bucket is impractical, time consuming and hazardous where efficiency targets just can’t be met… however using an innovative sealed system can optimise maintenance facilities.

“Meeting with experienced rail engineers and understanding how our products can fit their applications has been very exciting. We are in detailed discussions with a number of organisations, developing bespoke solutions and testing them on site.”

Oilaway is a sealed system that prevents any potential foreign debris entering the oil system, which can ultimately cause breakdowns and major disruptions. Due to the harsh and demanding environments that trains are faced with, the multi- layered plug will eliminate fluids being contaminated and improves reliability.

Analysing potential problems

One major factor that has the Oilaway system generating a leading edge within rail maintenance, is the ability to sample fluids through a sealed system with ease. Fluid sampling allows for precise conditioning analysis of all waste fluids which enables early detection of any potential failures.

Analysing the condition of the fluids can allow operators to better understand the condition of their machinery. Servicing can be specific and practical by critically avoiding unnecessary spending and labour costs. This improvement of equipment efficiency and extended life all adds value whilst reducing the cost of having to perform reactive maintenance.

Oilaway currently offers a complementary diagnostic evaluation to all rail workshops, allowing a project team to relieve strenuous maintenance demands by looking at the customer’s specific needs and fitting a suitable solution.

With a proven track record, Oilaway is serious about the future and opportunities that lie ahead. Simple yet effective, easily adapted to specific needs and with a long service life adding value, it is easy to see the Oilaway system becoming a go-to solution for the industry.