Railway NetworkI

In a series of 10 projects, largely funded by the Netherlands Government through their aid and investment organisation, DIAK made extensive supplies to revive a narrow gauge railway network in a large African plantation. The work included re-engining old locomotives and improving drive systems. New coupling and centering assemblies were designed and manufactured. Obsolete electrical systems were removed and replaced with modern diesel electric components. The railcars were refitted with new axles and carriers. The resulting system is both effective and economic, being faster and more reliable than tractor based collection systems, working in all weathers, and requiring fewer operatives to shift thousands of tons of harvested produce.

The plantation factory was linked to the national rail network and used a 1943 steam locomotive to haul produce out to the nearest town marshalling yards. On one occasion the gearbox failed leaving the locomotive stranded, and with the original manufacture long since closed, DIAK repatriated the broken parts, created CNC manufacturing specifications, made new parts to emergency order, and airfreighted these back to rescue the locomotive and revive produce shipments.


Railway Workshop

A railway workshop owned a 1958 rail tyre rolling press supplied by Crown Agents, which had ceased operations when the hydraulic systems failed and no spare parts could be obtained. Later, as their back up unit also faltered, DIAK devised a re-engineering solution. The oil sump top plate casting was air freighted to England and machined out with a new suction, strainer and return fitted. The assembly was returned to the client together with a subframe on which was mounted a modern electric motor fitted with a compact high pressure gear pump. A control panel and instrumentation was mounted onto the subframe. The original leather belt pulley drive was bypassed, and the new subframe (which was designed to fit existing apertures on the press) fitted onto the side of the machine. The redesigned top plate was dropped onto the old sump and connected with new pipework to the pump.

The unit was fitted with 3 sets of filtration for long term security, and also delivered with 3 years of service spares. The work was done by a DIAK engineer on site and worked first time so restoring full operations after a break of several years.


Rail Crane

In 1968, a railway authority purchased a Japanese 60 ton rail crane for the rescue of derailed rolling stock and for civil engineering duties. Some years later, the Japanese manufacturer closed the factory leaving the client with a very expensive and useful machine but no spares support. Progressively the crane gear deteriorated, leaving the hoisting, derricking and slewing functions unsafe at any load. The core units appeared irreplaceable and scrapping the crane was contemplated. DIAK examined the clutches, brakes and gear to devise a rescue strategy.

As research continued, it was noted by a DIAK consultant that the layout and components looked familiar. Further work uncovered the fact that the entire gear system was an unlicenced copy of a British crane of the 1950s, with minor changes to dimensions and fittings. DIAK commissioned spares for the British crane and made engineering changes to match the Japanese equipment. By applying many years of experience and some inventive reverse engineering, an unexpected solution solved the problem.

The crane had been designed with hydraulic outriggers attached to the main chassis, which extended and jacked down to stabilise the platform for lifting duty. With the diesel power in the rotating cab housing, there was no power delivery to the chassis, so the Japanese design resorted to manual pumping of the outriggers with the operator carrying around a oil reservoir and manual pump. The process was very slow and extremely hard work. With a crane progressing along a track to recover a string of fallen wagons, the repetitive up and down of 4 outriggers in maybe two repeat adjustments for every wagon more than doubled the time taken for each lift.

Diak redesigned the crane by manufacturing two hydraulic powerpacks, each with independant pumping and reservoirs, in very low profile housings slung under the opposing chassis side rails. The housings were mounted on extending arms, which slid outboard during use, and took power from an electrical connection to the cab. The operator could jack down both outriggers on a side with many fine adjustments using two joysticks in less than 1 minute. The use of the crane is revolutionised.

The work of DIAK covers both creative engineering solutions and much routine engineering supply. For example, in the rail industry in Africa there exists a continuous demand for basic rolling stock components; DIAK has made arrangements with specialist factories across the world to achieve the ability to produce almost all such components. Recent jobs of this nature cover such supplies as Constant Friction Dampers to fit Gloucester pattern bogies, Twist Locks for rail wagon container carriers, Brake Beams with shoe carriers, wagon air braking spares, and various Springs for bogies and couplers.