Hardening rails the smarter way

Alberto Lainati ...

... has been with Primetals Technologies (and predecessor companies) since 1989 and led the efforts behind idRHa+.


idRHa+ is the inline injector dual-phase rail-hardening system from Primetals Technologies, capable of applying the desired temperature profile and microstructure distribution of the rails during manufacturing in real time. Optimized for the requirements of today's rail producers, idRHa+ is fully Industry 4.0 compatible and offers advanced thermo-­metallurgical process control, state-of-the-art production management, and strictest quality assurance. The system was designed from the ground up to be future proof and provides pioneering, highly advanced functionality. It can predict the rails' material properties in terms of hardness gradient, microstructure transformation, deformation behavior, and more. The high energy efficiency of idRHa+ rounds off a solution that is without equal in the metals industry.

Alberto Lainati was involved with the development of idRHa+ from the beginning. He started by studying in detail what market conditions the new technology would be facing and got in contact with rail producers, end users, and standardization organizations around the world. "With rails, you have zero room for mistakes," says Lainati. "Rails are among the very few steel products that go into operation as rolled, so their performance, consistency, and reliability are absolute." For idRHa+, an innovative pass-through rail-production method had to be crafted, with selective and flexible quenching protocols using water, air, and mist. "Ahead of the first production run, I was up all night, hoping it would go as planned." It did.