L.B. Foster has been granted a patent for an end post design for a rail joint assembly. The end post consists of a top portion, base, and stem, with each component made of electrically insulating materials. The top portion and base are made of a fiber reinforced polymer material, while the stem and inner areas of the top portion and base are made of a polymer material. GlobalData’s report on L.B. Foster gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on L.B. Foster, it's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Patent granted for an end post for rail joint assembly
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11639584B2) describes an innovative design for an end post used in rail joint assemblies. The end post is designed to provide electrical insulation and structural support between rail head and base sections.
The end post consists of a top portion, a base, and a stem. The top portion and base have profiles that match the cross-sectional shapes of the rail head and base sections, respectively. The top portion and base are made of a first electrically insulating material, which is a fiber reinforced polymer material. The stem, on the other hand, is made of a second electrically insulating material, which is a polymer material.
The patent also introduces the use of a third electrically insulating material, which is a ceramic material. This material is used in the form of disc-shaped or cylindrical-shaped pieces. These pieces are attached to the inner side of the top portion and base, and some are also embedded within the second electrically insulating material in the stem and inner areas of the top portion and base. The third electrically insulating material can be zirconium dioxide, aluminum oxide, or silicon nitride.
The patent further describes the use of interference fits to enhance the structural integrity of the end post. These interference fits can be geometric shapes that help lock together the stem with the top portion, the stem with the base, the top portion inner area with the top portion outer area, and the base inner area with the base outer area.
The patent also includes a method for manufacturing the end post. The process involves attaching the ceramic pieces to the top portion and base, placing them in a mold, adding additional ceramic pieces within the mold cavities for the inner areas, and then casting the second electrically insulating material to form the inner areas, stem, and base inner area.
Overall, this patented design offers an improved end post for rail joint assemblies, providing both electrical insulation and structural support. The use of different materials and the incorporation of ceramic pieces enhance the performance and durability of the end post.