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Problem Statement: Fatigue life testing of large tapered roller bearing components for rail applications is often very costly and time consuming. The purpose of this project is to assist Amsted Rail Company, Inc. develop a large railroad tapered roller bearing test rig that does not require scaled down prototypes bearings. As these are tapered rollers, loads can be applied from either the lateral or radial direction. L10 bearing life test predictions for the test rig bearings should be carried out using the American Bearing Manufacturers Association standards. The test rig can be designed to test as many as 4 bearings at a time or as little as one bearing raceway (1/2 bearing) at a time. The overall goal of the project is to design a test rig that will provide accelerated life test results, create solid models of the test rig design for illustration purposes, and provide supporting design calculations.

Rationale: With completion of this project it will allow Amstead Rail Company Inc. to test their bearing products in a quicker and more efficient manner. They will be able to obtain test data in a much quicker manner, drastically decreasing the amount of time needed to make manufacturing adjustments to current production. Secondly, it will allow Amstead Rail to excel in product development by enabling them to test prototype bearing at a never achieved pace.

Approach: Our team has used the method of static analysis to solve for the loads corresponding to a rail car bearing under full and partial loads. We then designed a prototype test rig and that we saw as a best fit to our customers need. We then animated the product in 3D using the Inventor CAD program and analyzed the rig/bearing in ANSYS computer software to ensure that it could provide/withstand the designed loads.

Interim Results and Conclusions: As of 12/1/2014 our team has determined the static loads that may be seen in the rig and bearing during testing operation. We have factored in many engineering criteria and worked with our contact personnel at Amstead Rail to ensure that our prototype design will meet their desired needs. Currently, our team starting to move forward with the Inventor 3D modeling and ANSYS load analysis of the test rig.

Anticipated Results and Conclusions: The expected results of this design project are to provide a bearing test rig concept that has been proven through static analysis; with corresponding 3D CAD drawings that will allow for a functioning prototype to be built along with a bill of materials needed to create the rig.

Publication Date



mechanical and nuclear engineering, roller bearings


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Charles Cartin

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2015

Tapered Roller Bearing Test Rig: Axially Loaded Application to Accelerate Bearing Failure