GE Unveils New Under-Railcar, Ultrasonic Wheel Inspection System

GE Unveils New Under-Railcar, Ultrasonic Wheel Inspection System 57 KB

Combines GE’s Industry-Leading Ultrasonic Instrumentation Platform With Purpose-Designed Mechanics and Easy-to-Use Software

Huerth, Germany, - September 2, 2015 — The new WheelStar-UFPE, from GE Measurement & Control, is a purpose-built, automated ultrasonic inspection system. It allows for comprehensive non-destructive examination of rail wheels during train maintenance without the need to remove the wheelset from the rail car. Combining GE’s industry-leading ultrasonic instrumentation platform with high-end mechanics enables railway maintenance workshops to optimize productivity while achieving full traceability of results. Technicians are guided through the inspection process by application software that is specifically developed and workflow-orientated. The automatic defect recognition (ADR) provides immediate identification of any surface or volumetric flaws in the wheel under inspection.

“Global rail operators conduct inspection of train wheels at regular intervals, primarily during the night shift to avoid traffic disruptions,” explained Matthias Schwabe, product manager at GE Measurement & Control. “Consequently, it’s important that the procedure be both fast and reliable. WheelStar can carry out a full wheel inspection in less than 90 seconds, including analysis and recording of results for traceability.”

In operation, the remotely controlled, battery-powered trolley–carrying all the mechanics and ultrasonics–as well as an integrated programmable logic controller (PLC) travels below the rail car and is positioned under the wheelset. This is then automatically lifted and the wheels are rotated before the ultrasonic probes are located on the face and tread of the wheel being inspected. To ensure comprehensive and rapid scanning, a combination of eight phased array and six conventional probes is employed. Transmission and receiving of the probes is controlled by GE’s USIP|xx electronics platform, which also processes the inspection data at very high speed to offer extremely fast online inspection with exceptional probability of detection (POD). The inspection data  is transmitted using WiFi to the operator center.

WheelStar’s software is designed for ease of operation. It provides a guided workflow, which is structured to the task in hand and displays a full A-scan capture within its projected view of results. Operator training and inspection are simple, automated and fast, reducing costs and the risk of error. Combined with the ADR feature of the system, this means greater reliability and a reduction in the number of costly and time-consuming false calls.

WheelStar is supported globally by GE, with comprehensive after-sales service and training.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) imagines things others don’t, builds things others can’t and delivers outcomes that make the world work better. GE brings together the physical and digital worlds in ways no other company can. In its labs and factories and on the ground with customers, GE is inventing the next industrial era to move, power, build and cure the world.

About GE Measurement & Control

GE Measurement & Control is a leading innovator in advanced, sensor-based measurement; non-destructive testing and inspection; flow and process control; turbine, generator, and plant controls; and condition monitoring. Providing healthcare for our customers’ most critical assets, we deliver accuracy, productivity and safety to a wide range of industries, including oil & gas, power generation, aerospace, metals and transportation. Headquartered in Boston, USA, Measurement & Control has more than 40 facilities in 25 countries and is part of GE Oil & Gas. For further information, visit

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Contact Us

For more information, contact:

Chris Janssens
GE Measurement & Control
32 3456 2851

Rachael Tucker

InkHouse, for GE