Modern rail transport modes have long been a product replete with high tech given the digitisation taking place in all realms of rail traffic. Passengers obtain information via digital systems, have constant access to the internet and entertainment, while control and instrumentation systems are optimised to ensure safe and reliable operation. Space in train cars and locomotives is already scarce and will be further reduced by more and more data streams. Under these cramped conditions, mounting and cabling are still child’s play.
The interior design of locomotives and train cars is not always easy when space is tight. Due to the high demands placed on the resistance to shock and vibration, manufacturers of railway vehicles also rely on particularly robust solutions when it comes to connectors. The reason for this is that, in railway applications, all cables and lines, as well as all components that are used - and consequently all the components and materials that make up a line, to include the connectors - must comply with the railway standard DIN EN 50155 and fire protection regulations according to DIN EN 45545. In order to securely and permanently connect such connectors in conformance with the standard, the connectors are usually screwed-retained - which requires the use of tools. However, if there is barely any space to manoeuvre a screwdriver or wrench, assembly quickly becomes a trial of patience. Nevertheless, if 20 ports need to be mounted on a switch under unfavourable space conditions or in an uncomfortable working position, installation personnel are gladdened by anything that simplifies this task.
Tool-less assembly with PushPull
If connectors for data technology require tools in order to be assembled, as is usually the case with M12, connecting 20 ports to a switch quickly becomes a tedious task. To simplify assembly and service and improve reliability, HARTING is now also offering M12 circular connectors with PushPull locking. For device connection technology, there is also the easy-to-use PushPull system in the square connector variant 4. Whether M12 or variant 4 , the safe transmission of power, signals and data up to Cat.6A is no problem. The advantage of all PushPull connectors is their tool-free installation, regardless of whether round or square PushPull connectors are opted for. The connectors are simply gripped and connected. An acoustic click provides an audible signal that they have been securely locked and correctly mated. The resulting connection is simpler, faster, and absolutely vibration-proof.
The advantage of all PushPull connectors is their tool-free installation.
Advantages of technical retrofitting
By way of example, Deutsche Bahn’s ICE trains generally have a lifetime of at least 30 years. In order to consistently achieve this figure, Deutsche Bahn performs so-called redesigns on its trains once the trains have reached half their service life in order to make them fit for the future. With regard to the redesign of its 66 ICE 3 trains, DB is planning a timeframe of until the end of 2020. Several months of this time could certainly be saved if quick PushPull locking could be used. On the device side, HARTING offers extra inserts here which are screwed in once in standard M12 screw-type sockets and can then accept PushPull connectors. This simplifies upcoming repairs or maintenance. But the reverse is also possible, because for a railway vehicle manufacturer that currently uses HARTING M12 sockets and wall feedthroughs, these are always PushPull-capable as well as simultaneously backward compatible for use with M12 standard connectors with screw connections.
Quality and long service life are top priority
The objective of the DIN EN 50155 standard for the electronics in rail vehicles is to ensure functionality over the entire service life of a rail vehicle. In operation, this can mean deployment 24 hours a day over 20 years, which equals approximately 175,000 operating hours. The DIN EN 50155 standard comprises a general standard whose detailed requirements are specified in subordinate classes. The individual classes of the DIN EN 50155 standard cover all conceivable environmental conditions that can occur, such as:
- Ambient temperature
- Environmental pollution
- EMC (electromagnetic compatibility)
- Shock and vibration
- Salt corrosion as well as input voltage and input voltage surges