FastPatch HPRE® System–Innovative Technology
Embedding rail in rail grout had traditionally been a messy, labor intensive, wasteful and time consuming process. Mixing thousands of 5-gallon buckets by hand meant using a small army of Workers to mix and carry buckets, plus disposing of contaminated plastic buckets. This ‘bucket-mixing’ method takes hundreds of hours to complete and it is often a messy task when hand pouring into narrow troughs.
When Mike Holbrook, VP of Rail Operations for DART, found out about a new mechanically delivered and fast curing Polyurethane system, he started working with Willamette Valley Company’s Bret Andreasen to create a system that would bring rail grout into the modern Transit and Light Rail World. (To read Mike Holbrook’s full article on the Dallas DART project see Passenger Transport June 24th 2019 edition, page 10. Click Here for Article )
DART provided multiple test locations before committing to this new disruptive technology to bring rail grout into the 21st Century. “We chose HPRE®-MD from the Willamette Valley Company for Environmental, Labor Reduction, Speed of Cure and Noise & Vibration reduction reasons AND it’s made in America” cites Holbrook.
HPRE®-MD allows trains to be put back into service within 1 hour of placing the rail grout due to the quick cure of the 2 liquid components which are mixed at the nozzle. The high output of a minimum 30 cubic feet per hour allowed DELTA RR and GW Peoples to finish early with just a 3 man crew. DELTA & GWP were instrumental in creating innovative methods for preparing the rail replacement and for installing the rail grout.
For example, Larry Lorella of DELTA RR pushed for larger containers for the chemicals asking the manufacturer to design day tanks to avoid time consuming change outs of the chemical totes. Willamette Valley’s Bret Andreasen went to work and the result was further collaboration and success for the Design, Manufacturing and Contracting teams. The disruption to service in Dallas was minimized, the disruption to traditional technology by using HPRE®-MD is a big impact.
Figure 1: FastPatch HPRE® Downtown Dallas Business District, May 2019.
So what makes this technology work so well in the Light Rail/Transit World? Nathan Werst, the formulating chemist for HPRE®-MD explains: “Although fast curing Polyurethanes are nothing new in the Construction World, what is new is the level of performance that HPRE® provides. My team designed a system that meets the highest performance possible to support current and future ridership forecasts and environments.”
“For example, The HPRE®-MD system is VOC free and 100 times more electrically isolating than previous/existing generation materials on offer. HPRE®-MD was formulated to maximize the expectations of the specifiers and owners expectations as to how a rail grout should perform and not how it could perform based upon technology available at that time.”
Mr. Werst added: “We do not worry about comparing Shore hardness to outdated technology or our compressive strength to harder (brittle) materials, what really counts is toughness and resilience to stand the test of time and increased load.”
Agencies that have and are using the polymer system include: DART, Baltimore MTA, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Chicago RTD, SFMTA, RTD (Denver), VTA, BART as well as many DOTs and Airport facilities in the USA, Canada, Latin America and around the Globe. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us at Sales@WVCORailroad.com or 800-333-9826.
Willamette Valley Company, LLC is a leading-edge, multinational corporation that manufactures a wide variety of custom products throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, and South America. While our roots are in the wood products industry and go back to our inception in 1952, our expertise and solutions now encompass innovative materials for the OEM and transportation markets. Specializing in collaborative approaches to solving tough Industry problems, we often create customized solutions with our Industry partners to solve what have been long lasting issues.