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Foreign Object Damage (FOD) control in rail?

Foreign Object Damage (FOD) control in rail?

Foreign Object Damage (FOD) control in rail?

Hi guys,

I'm working on a tooling control project for a train maintenance depot. I'm creating this post in hope to gather your thoughts, experience and advice on the followings:

Do you think FOD control is important for rail?

Have you come across any incident/accident caused by FOD?

Recently I've been reading FOD control in the aviation industry, which is an important aspect in the industry due to accidents happened in the past. There are extremely strict control procedures for toolings enforced especially in the maintenance facilities for planes and jets.

By comparison, the tooling control in maintenance depots in the rail industry is a lot more relaxed at the moment.

I've included below some background information for FOD:

Foreign Object Damage is damage caused by Foreign Object Debris that compromises the quality, functionality or economic value of a manufactured item. For instance, a piece of FOD at the wrong place at the wrong time can:
•Shred fan blades when sucked into a turbojet
•Blow out tires at high speeds
•Damage delicate components when trapped inside of an equipment housing
•Freeze control mechanisms when lodged next to levers and handles

Foreign Object Debris is any object, particle, substance, debris or agent that is not where it is supposed to be.

Examples of foreign object debris:
•Tools, parts and loose hardware
•Building materials
•Paper, paper clips, pens, coins and badges
•Fragments of broken pavement
•Trash, food wrappers and beverage containers
•Rocks, sand and loose vegetation
•Baggage tags and pieces of luggage
•Hats, rags and gloves

RE: Foreign Object Damage (FOD) control in rail?

You have the original FOD prevention mechanism; cowcatchers!

Seriously, within a maintenance depot, the first potential FOD issue that comes to mind is wheel damage from a stray wrench or other hard object left on a railhead. Tool control boards and minimal housekeeping efforts should take care of that.

Most of the FOD concern in airplanes has to do with damage to expensive turbines in a regime where the airflow into the turbine is serious enough to make almost anything airborne. Unless you're running gas turbine locomotives (there were a few), that should not be a concern.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Foreign Object Damage (FOD) control in rail?

Hey Mike,

Thanks very much for your input.

You have a great point on the strong airflow generated by turbine, that's probably the main reason for FOD control in aviation. As we rarely find that in locomotives, perhaps that's the reason I couldn't find any incident/accident in rail caused by loose tooling left in train.

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