Home / Patent granted for Houghton International’s latest innovation

Patent granted for Houghton International’s latest innovation

Specialist rail repair and maintenance service provider Houghton International has been granted a patent for HiTIG, a technical welding method for the repair of aluminium conductor bars of DC line inductors.

HiTIG is now protected by UK Patent No. 2536896

Electric railway systems are known to include trains which utilise direct current (DC) line inductors. Inductors of this type are configured to withstand high frequency currents in use. However, in cold weather or winter periods, inductors of this type can be exposed to moisture from snow and ice which has led to many of our customers to experience electrical flashover faults of conductor to earth. Excessive moisture can result in internal electrical arcing and significant damage to the coils due to the overheating and shorting out of the circuits. As a result, a portion of the aluminium conductor melts and erodes away leaving a gap. Once damaged, the current flow through the conductor is forced to bottleneck through the now smaller cross-sectional area of the conductor which arises from the break or gap resulting in higher resistivity and increase in temperature.

Developed in response to this specific customer issue, our skilled engineers developed HiTIG, a technical welding solution for the repair of high current aluminium windings, restoring functionality to an otherwise unserviceable unit. The process involves using a standard high-quality tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding procedure to create a filler weld which utilises an inert gas with a tungsten tip to create the repaired portion. Operated in line with a particular welding procedure specification (WPS) advantageously allows the process to be completed repeatedly and to a consistent standard, without resulting in hot spots in the conductors.

Furthermore, by making the conductors suitable for service, there are several benefits for the customer such as lower costs and quicker lead times against purchasing brand new DC line inductors.

Hodi Mirafsari, Engineering Director at Houghton International, commented: “Having worked in the rail sector for over 15 years’, Houghton International understands the requirements of the sector and the needs of our customers. HiTIG is the perfect example of Houghton International working collaboratively with customers to solve complex engineering problems and extending the life of electro mechanical assets across their vehicles.”

With a focus on innovation and a strong track record in innovation, Houghton International work with customers to solve problems and come up with new innovative technologies.

To find out more or discuss any upcoming requirements, contact us directly on +44 (0)191 234 3000 or email info@houghton-international.com.


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