In step: Retrofit on the points

What can you do if the rail infra­struc­ture for regional and local trans­port is ageing, ham­pering the imple­men­ta­tion of attrac­tive clock-face sched­ules? When mod­ernising out­dated points con­trollers in Kraków and four other Polish cities, the com­pany ZUE put its trust in the automa­tion system PSS 4000. This now reli­ably and ­safely con­trols these points.

In many places, the railway infra­struc­ture dates back to the pre­vious cen­tury. Because of this, mod­erni­sa­tion is increas­ingly per­formed in ­tandem with automa­tion and digi­ti­sa­tion. One main focus is thus on retro­fitting points con­trollers, including in a number of Polish light and regional railway net­works. ZUE S.A., based in Kraków, is part of the ZUE Group and is devel­oping con­cepts and solu­tions for the tram and rail industry in Poland.

Together with Pilz, ZUE S.A. has suc­cess­fully imple­mented 13 mod­erni­sa­tion projects in Szczecin, Kraków, Wrocław, Toruń and Gorzów Wielkopolski in recent years. At the core was always the demand for greater safety and reli­a­bility. The heart of the solu­tion is the automa­tion system PSS 4000 from Pilz: “The automa­tion system meets all the cus­tomer require­ments,” empha­sises Tomasz Szczypek, Head of Inno­va­tion and Engi­neering at ZUE S.A. “It stands for stream­lined, trans­parent pro­gram­ming, simple main­te­nance and clear fault diag­nos­tics. Our cus­tomers receive a solu­tion for their points con­troller that can be fully inte­grated and is mod­ular, expand­able and ­simple to operate.”

Robust system solution for railways

Under the pre­vailing con­di­tions, points could often only be passed at 10 km/h. The out­dated con­trol sys­tems also proved to be more sus­cep­tible to tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions. Thanks to its tem­per­a­ture-resis­tant mod­ules and electro­magnetic com­pat­i­bility (EMC), the automa­tion system PSS 4000 can with­stand not only mechan­ical stress – such as shocks – but also con­den­sa­tion or increased vibra­tion and oscil­la­tion. This guar­an­tees that points are con­trolled safely. Mal­func­tions or even dis­as­ters due to incor­rectly set points are thus a thing of the past. The system’s PSSuni­versal con­trol and I/O ­mod­ules that are used work reli­ably in a tem­per­a­ture range of –40 °C to +70 °C and can forgo any heating of the con­trol cab­i­nets.

PSS 4000 has proven itself

The automa­tion system has a mod­ular design and is already taking on the con­trol and mon­i­toring func­tions in var­ious railway appli­ca­tions. For this, PSS 4000 has railway-spe­cific safety approvals. Tomasz Szczypek is sat­is­fied with the flex­ible and mod­ular con­trol and mon­i­toring system from Pilz: “The product quality and reli­a­bility of the automa­tion system PSS 4000 are excel­lent.  What’s more, Pilz stands for fast delivery, first-class sup­port and com­pe­tent advice!”

Clear diagnostics included

In the railway envi­ron­ment, the mod­ules of the automa­tion system PSS 4000 con­trol and mon­itor points of almost every type. Decen­tralised, expand­able I/O mod­ules offer net­work oper­a­tors max­imum flex­i­bility. The automa­tion system is designed in accor­dance with the multi­master prin­ciple: The real-time Eth­ernet pro­tocol Safe­tyNET p allows sev­eral pro­gram­mable logic con­trollers PSSuni­versal PLC‑R to be safely con­nected with equal rights across long ­dis­tances. safe

The PSSuni­versal con­trol and I/O mod­ules that are used work reli­ably in a tem­per­a­ture range of –40 °C to +70 °C and can forgo any heating of the con­trol cab­i­nets.

This saves a good deal of mate­rial and time in the cabling. At the same time, this log­ical and clear layout of the automa­tion system speeds up railway projects that often have to be han­dled in par­allel with normal oper­a­tion – from engi­neering through to run­time and main­te­nance. The web-based visu­al­i­sa­tion soft­ware PASvisu devel­oped by Pilz offers the oper­ator the best pos­sible overview of all system com­po­nents and thus com­pre­hen­sive oppor­tu­ni­ties for remote main­te­nance, diag­nos­tics and visu­al­i­sa­tion. Faults or errors can thus be clearly and quickly detected and localised.

Points in the net­works of Polish railway oper­a­tors that were equipped with the automa­tion system PSS 4000 cur­rently meet the safety integrity level SIL 3. The points can now be passed at up to 20 km/h. Pas­sen­gers also ­ben­efit from the mod­erni­sa­tion mea­sures: travel times could be reduced by 50 per­cent on the affected routes, allowing the schedule to be opti­mised.

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