Instrumented wheelsets (IWS) for rail cars

Technical service highlights

NRC has been a leading designer and developer of Instrumented Wheelsets (IWS) for rail cars in North America for over 20 years. NRC's IWS offers unmatched accuracy, reliability and durability with a unique ability to turn complex data into useful information for the end-user.

NRC's IWS system is based on proven technology that has been implemented in over 800 instrumented wheelsets globally, on both passenger and freight rolling stock. NRC's proven IWS technology provides direct, real-time measurements of the dynamic vertical, lateral and longitudinal forces that occur at the wheel-rail interface.

What we offer

During train operation, heavy loads combined with the dynamic forces that occur at the wheel/rail interface can lead to deterioration of both track and rolling stock. Wheel/rail contact anomalies can lead to increased maintenance costs and reduced service life. In situations where poor track quality exists, excessive forces can cause derailments, buckles, breaks, rail rollovers, and other safety concerns.

In all cases, knowing and managing wheel/rail forces is a critical factor in reducing safety risks, lowering maintenance costs, and maximizing service life. An IWS is the only tool that provides direct measurement of wheel/rail contact forces.

Advantages of using NRC's IWS:

  • Field-proven instrumentation: Precise gauge placement and full bridge configuration for superior signal-to-noise ratio and temperature compensation.
  • Plug and Play: Wheelsets are installed into the existing truck, and connected to your existing data acquisition system to enable immediate use and data streaming.
  • Self-zeroing: No need to lift wheelsets off the ground to zero them before testing.
  • Optical data-transmission: Contact-free transmission of digital data.
  • NRC's IWS Analytical software: Post processing of large IWS data files, and outputs a summary of all AAR M-976 exceptions with accurate GPS positioning of exception locations.
  • Real-time data processing: Ability to view wheel/rail forces in real-time, allowing online and timely decisions to be made during field testing – immediately identifying the location of peak loads on the rail.

Why work with us

NRC is a recognized leader in rail vehicle and track optimization among freight, transit and passenger railways and rail equipment OEMs around the world. Let our expertise benefit you.


Jason Pierosara, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-998-9378

Supplemental content

Contact us

To discuss your project and learn more about the benefits of using NRC’s Instrumented Wheelsets (IWS) contact:

Jason Pierosara, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-998-9378

Targeted industries

Railway suppliers and manufacturers (rolling stock, rail etc.), rail and track operators (transit, passenger and freight), regulators.


"At TTX, we have many instrumented wheelsets of varying size and profile, made by the NRC. These wheelsets are the most important instrumentation used in any of our dynamic freight car tests. The support and expertise provided by the NRC team is fantastic".

Erik Gotlund,
Senior Manager Engineering Research
and Product Development
TTX Company
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