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Measurement And Evaluation Of Vibration Exposure For Locomotive Crew Members - Introduction; Proceedings Of The First American Conference On Human Vibration
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  • Description:
    The vibration and impact environment for crew members on locomotives has been investigated in a series of studies conducted by Exponent Failure Analysis Associates (Exponent) beginning in 1990. Locomotive cab vibration and impact levels were measured on a variety of locomotive models operating over many different track sections across the Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and CONRAIL systems. The comfort and health implications of exposure to the measured locomotive vibration levels were evaluated by comparison with the human vibration exposure boundaries given in the International Standards Organization (ISO) standard 2631-1:1997, the British Standard 6841:1987, European Union (EU) Directive 2002/44/EC, measurements made by Exponent on various commercial and recreational vehicles, and vibration exposure measurement data found in the literature. Methods Initially, vibration levels experienced by locomotive crews were measured and recorded at incremental speeds covering the range of normal train operation. In 2003, a method of measuring the vibration exposure continuously by means of a digital recorder was developed, allowing the vibration level over the entire run or crew shift to be analyzed. For each seating location measured, acceleration was recorded on the seat surface beneath the ischial tuberosities (pelvis) of the seated crew member and on the cab floor directly under the seat. At each of the locations, triaxial accelerometers were used to measure the vibration along the longitudinal, lateral, and vertical axes. Since the vibration environment varies throughout the route, and locomotive vibration levels have been found to be primarily speed dependent, a speed sensor was used to continuously measure the speed of the train. To evaluate the recorded vibrations levels, the data was divided into two-minute segments, which were each processed per the 1997 ISO standard for weighted RMS vibration levels and Vibration Dose Values (VDV). Additionally, PSDs and 1/3 Octave RMS values were calculated to determine the frequency content of the vibration. For each two-minute segment, the average speed of the locomotive was calculated to allow for correlation with the recorded vibration exposure values. The resulting exposure values for the entire run were calculated by combining the data from all of the two-minute segments. Since introducing the continuous method of recording acceleration, 23 seating locations have been recorded on 11 locomotives traveling 11 different routes across various parts of the United States. One of the routes was a shift of ‘yard work’, traveling back and forth in a rail yard coupling train cars together. Results A guide to interpreting weighted acceleration values with respect to health is given in Annex B of the 1997 ISO standard. A health guidance caution zone is defined to indicate the

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