A well-made hose with sufficient reinforcement layers is an important part of the railway sleeper impregnation process with creosote
Picture above: Foreman Janne Tervonen contacted Technical Sales at Teknikum to replace poor-quality hoses with more durable products. His choice was Teknikum FUEL-TEK® SD.
“Hoses need to be of a good quality, and Teknikum’s hoses are just that,” says Janne Tervonen, who works as a foreman at the Haapamäki railway sleeper impregnation plant.
Wood is a good and durable material under the rails because it is flexible and does not break. However, this material needs to be impregnated with creosote to ensure that it endures the soil, humidity, subzero temperatures and other conditions.
NRC Group Finland’s railway sleeper impregnation plant in Haapamäki, Central Finland, is a Nordic expert in this field.
“At our plant, pine wood is impregnated in pressure and heat to ensure that it lasts for at least 40 years,” Foreman Janne Tervonen explains.
The impregnation agent is made from creosote, which is a coal distillate generated as a side stream in the steel industry.
“It was one of the first industrial by-products to be exploited. It has been used as an impregnation agent for more than 150 years. All hazardous toxins are removed, and only constituents suitable for impregnation are used,” Mr. Tervonen says.
To ensure that impregnation is safe and effective, hoses are required that are resistant to heat, cold and, in particular, dissolution.
“The impregnation agent removes the internal protective film over time. With poor-quality hoses, this happens very quickly. High-quality hoses last for at least two years, which is more than enough,” Mr. Tervonen points out.
I called Technical Sales at Teknikum, and they checked from a rubber chemist to ensure that Teknikum FUEL-TEK® SD is suitable for our use.
“During the busiest time in the summer, we are supplied with up to six loads of impregnation agent per month. Depending on the delivery vehicle, 36 or 27 metric tons of material run through a hose, and the hose should endure at least two million kilos of material,” Mr. Tervonen says.
“During the railway contract season, we are continuously impregnating sleepers for construction sites. If we fail to deliver, projects will stop, which will increase costs. We also produce electricity and telecom poles for export, and ships will not wait while we replace a hose.”
The operations of a railway sleeper impregnation plant must be reliable, which also calls for durable products of a high quality, such as hoses made by Teknikum in Europe.
According to Mr. Tervonen, a well-made hose with sufficient reinforcement layers is an essential part of the railway sleeper impregnation process. Such hoses are manufactured by Teknikum.
“We seek to acquire the highest-quality product, which Teknikum provides. Teknikum FUEL-TEK® SD is a durable and reliable product with an excellent price-to-quality ratio,” Mr. Tervonen says.
“Another advantage is that Teknikum’s hoses don’t break suddenly. They give signs of failure in advance, which is a useful feature for us. When the performance of the hose begins to decrease over time, the material runs more slowly through the hose, and we are able to replace the hose before the internal protective film is completely removed.”
Wood is a good and flexible material under the rails, but it needs to be impregnated to ensure that it lasts for decades.
Mr. Tervonen also has experiences of poor-quality hoses.
“At times, we weren’t able to acquire Teknikum’s hoses from our internal store, and had to use other hoses instead. One of the hoses lasted for only one summer. The following ones lasted for two months or so.”
After these experiences, he set out to explore the availability of higher-quality hoses.
“I called Technical Sales at Teknikum, and they contacted a rubber chemist to ensure that Teknikum FUEL-TEK® SD is suitable for our use. I know it will be a reliable hose for at least two years, if not longer. We are very pleased with the quality provided by Teknikum, for we cannot afford to stop the impregnation process because of a low-quality hose,” Mr. Tervonen sums up.
Mr. Timo Kokkonen, Director, Hoses Business Unit at Teknikum, says that the company invests in product development and the overall quality of products. The company serves many types of industrial plants in an agile manner. Industrial hoses are also available from specialist dealers throughout Europe.
In addition to railway sleepers, NRC Group Finland’s impregnation plant supplies electricity and telecom poles.
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