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Case Study: Finite Element Analysis of Railway Switches

Non-linear finite element analysis can be used to ensure the optimum design of railway switches and back-drives.

It can also be used to help solve problems with the efficient operation of existing installations.

A switch model includes the switch rails, stretcher bars, lugs and back-drive mechanism as well as stock rails and bearers. Special point-contact elements with appropriate friction model the slide ways and back-drive take-up clearances. Hydraulic back-drives can also be modelled.
Modelling can predict the drive forces, back-drive loading, displacements and overall operational time of the switch as a function of switch layout design.