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  • Writer's pictureVegard Synnes

Buckle your Seatbelts: How G-Forces Impact Cars in Containers on Rail

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Rail transport is by far the mode of transport that puts the most stress on your cargo and the transportation assets used. The constant vibration, especially over long-distance rail moves, results in heavy wear on low strength material, which may result in torn lashings or other fastening devices being destroyed; the push and pull motions that are applied to the rail wagon upon stop and start might result in cargo being dispositioned inside the container; and the container handling on/off platform, chassis, etc. subjects the container and cargo to heavy impact force.

At Kar-Tainer we do rigorous testing to ensure our systems can deliver on our quality guarantees, even under the harshest conditions. Below graph shows the measurements from two accelerometers used during a rail transportation test, one device fastened to the container, the other inside the car.

 A graphic explaining the impact of C-forces on cars in containers

The vibration records and resultant G-Force subjected on to the container is quite significant. The top graph shows measurements from the device fastened directly on the container, while the bottom graph shows the measurements from the device positioned inside the car. As can be seen, there is a big difference between the two. The main reason for this is because we use tire-lashing when securing cars to our cassettes. This leaves the cars own suspension system free to absorb vibration and shock applied to the container.

So to say, as long as the car is free to move around on own suspensions, the forces applied to the container can be mitigated, and as long as the vehicles have sufficient clearance between vehicle, container, and cassette (100-150mm) they will not come into contact with anything else inside the container during transport. The next issue that must be addressed is how to ensure that the fastening devices and method stays safe throughout the transport journey. Kar-Tainer Cassettes are made of high-strength carbon steel and is designed in a way that when the system is put together it covers the entirety of the container floor, once loaded inside the container. This ensures that any longitudinal or sideways forces (X-axis & Y-axis in above chart), applied to the container does not translate into the vehicle itself, or any material or device used to secure the vehicle, being dispositioned inside the container.

To ensure our equipment can perform as well in a rail scenario as in any other transport scenario, we do regular quality testing to ensure our processes and equipment specifications are always up to date.

KTI Rail Impact Test - The Association of American Railroads

KTI Rail Impact Test - The Association of American Railroads

KTI Container Handling Test

Do you need quality solutions for loading your cars in containers for long-distance railroad transportation? Get in touch with your closest Kar-Tainer representative or reach out to us through the website contact forms to learn more of how we can support your activities.

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