Full speed ahead

Everyone is talking about the Mobility Turn­around, meaning that railway oper­ating com­pa­nies around the world are facing the chal­lenge of digi­tising the entire rail net­work over the coming years. The aim? Railway oper­a­tions should become safer, better, simply rev­o­lu­tionised for cli­mate-neu­tral mobility. Pilz is there­fore expanding its product range for rail­ways and, with the estab­lish­ment of the Busi­ness Unit Rail, is bundling its global railway activ­i­ties.

Punc­tual trains, energy-effi­cient tech­nology and an infra­struc­ture that allows higher capacity – those are the basic require­ments for a mobility turn­around. In order to achieve these goals, Euro­pean railway oper­ating com­pa­nies must digi­tise and stan­dardise their con­trol and safety tech­nology. What is needed are modern, safe and envi­ron­men­tally friendly tech­nolo­gies like those that are already com­mon­place in industry. Industry-tested system solu­tions from Pilz are already being used in classic railway appli­ca­tions such as switch con­trollers or railway cross­ings, as well as for areas of overlap between indus­trial and railway appli­ca­tions. Pilz has thus suc­cess­fully entered the field of railway tech­nology.

Fusion of industrial automation and railway technology

Pilz now wishes to actively help shape the future of the rail industry and, with the founding of the new Busi­ness Unit Rail, is broad­ening its product range for railway tech­nology to offer more automa­tion solu­tions for rail­ways. “We are cre­ating more internal resources for a port­folio and appli­ca­tion engi­neering spe­cially tai­lored to our railway ­cus­tomers. Addi­tion­ally, we are designing new dig­ital solu­tions by merging indus­trial appli­ca­tions with railway and signal engi­neering. With our industry-proven automa­tion solu­tions, we are already fully sat­is­fying the wide-ranging require­ments of the rail industry! We are thus the first choice for a safe dig­ital infra­struc­ture for rail­ways,” explains Sebas­tian Lüke, Head of Busi­ness Unit Rail.

Comprehensive portfolio from one source

For Michael Fohrer, Pres­i­dent of Busi­ness Unit Rail, Pilz is taking exactly the right steps: ­“Industry started on the path of digi­ti­sa­tion much ear­lier. The strengths and expe­ri­ences that Pilz was already able to gather in indus­trial appli­ca­tions are ide­ally suited to the exten­sive require­ments of railway engi­neering. The open inter­faces and stan­dard­ised Pilz solu­tions have enor­mous poten­tial for replacing pre­vi­ously pro­pri­etary railway appli­ca­tions.” The automa­tion company’s exper­tise is also directed into railway-spe­cific ser­vices such as project plan­ning and project man­age­ment, pro­gram­ming, doc­u­men­ta­tion and sup­port in the approval process. Know-how in the areas of work­place safety, machinery safety and the ‘Indus­trial Safety and Health Ordi­nance’ is also needed for the plants on com­pany premises. Railway oper­ating com­pa­nies ben­efit from this com­pre­hen­sive railway port­folio from one source.

Working together for the technology of tomorrow

The automa­tion system PSS 4000 with its spe­cial railway mod­ules already takes on the con­trol and mon­i­toring func­tions in var­ious railway appli­ca­tions, which railway oper­ating com­pa­nies rely on. This is because PSS 4000 has railway-spe­cific safety approvals as a product fea­ture and plays an impor­tant role, for example, in the Euro­pean ­project EULYNX. 13 major Euro­pean oper­a­tors, including Deutsche Bahn, Pro­Rail Nieder­lande and SBB Schweiz, have joined together under this mantle. The goal is to develop and pro­vide uni­form stan­dards for mod­ular inter­locking tech­nology. Specif­i­cally, Pilz has been working in a devel­op­ment part­ner­ship with Pro­Rail, the largest railway infra­struc­ture man­ager in the Nether­lands.

Dare to be more open

In the project, the safe automa­tion system PSS 4000 from Pilz is used as the hard­ware basis for the so-called EULYNX adapter. This enables the use of man­u­fac­turer-inde­pen­dent EULYNX stan­dards in existing inter­lock­ings because the adapter estab­lishes the com­pat­i­bility between the inter­locking tech­nology and the so-called object con­trollers. Dig­ital con­trol com­mands from inter­lock­ings are trans­lated by the object con­troller into ana­logue sig­nals in the EULYNX stan­dard. These can then be inter­preted by the end device – like the switch, for example. This would be a major step away from local, country-spe­cific solu­tions and toward an open railway market based on dig­ital con­trol and safety tech­nology. And what hap­pens on the Euro­pean railway market and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion is fre­quently used as a global example for rail­ways. Exciting future prospects for Pilz, and the Busi­ness Unit in par­tic­ular.

Pilz is riding the rails

With the estab­lish­ment of the rail busi­ness unit, Pilz is increasing its activ­i­ties in the railway industry under the lead­er­ship of Sebas­tian Lüke, Head of Busi­ness Unit Rail. After all, Pilz is the first choice for a safe dig­ital infra­struc­ture for rail­ways. Sebas­tian Lüke (on the right in the pic­ture) has been respon­sible for building up the Busi­ness Unit Rail from the very begin­ning and now heads the inter­na­tional team. The renowned rail expert Michael Fohrer (on the left in the pic­ture) – along with his expe­ri­ence as a former VDB pres­i­dent ­(Ver­band der Bah­nin­dus­trie in Deutsch­land e. V. ­[German railway industry asso­ci­a­tion]) and his exper­tise from 13 years of man­age­ment respon­si­bility at Bom­bardier Trans­porta­tion – will sup­port the rail busi­ness unit.

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