We present the results of a study in which we examined how different types of heavy-duty mechanical connections can affect total life cycle costs of rolling stock or similar equipment. The three commonly used methods for mechanical connection in the rolling stock industry include: welding, standard – through-hole bolting, and lipped channel, a newer technology. Newer designs of lipped channel connections have high/dynamic load capacities that are not considered possible with common, cold rolled channel products. Hot rolled channel products are capable of withstanding heavy loads typically experienced in welded or bolted joints. Throughout the life of rolling stock equipment, components may need to be replaced or upgraded from a new source, which may require a new mounting pattern or position. We have evaluated the total life cycle costs for the three techniques, when one includes costs for changing the mounting location or size of the bolt pattern. After evaluation of the cost results, we present several examples to show how rolling stock manufactures have used lipped channels to help them lower life cycle cost of their equipment. In addition to yielding flexibility in mounting position, the lipped channel connections facilitate the modularization and customization of products at the lower production levels associated with this industry.

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