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RAIL INDUSTRY communications

Amy Wells, marketing manager at Electroustic, explains how industrial Ethernet is now playing an essential role in rail travel


oday’s rail passengers now demand a better, more connected, experience

when travelling. Real time information regarding arrivals, departures and platforms is now expected, which means that communication between trains, control rooms and platforms needs to be up to date to the minute. Industrial Ethernet is playing a key role here. In fact not only does industrial Ethernet

play an important part in the working life of a train, but it is vital in many aspects of train travel. As well as being used to relay real time information to operators and passengers, its other applications are in on-board communications, security and surveillance, diagnostics, signalling technology, passenger information, plus much more. Industrial connectors and Ethernet products are supplied by Electroustic for use in such applications – ranging from rugged Ethernet connectors and switches, to plastic IP65/IP67 connectors which are used in rail embedded interior applications. The company is, in fact, a preferred partner

of Hirschmann and Lumberg Automation, both of which are part of the IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard) certified brand, Belden. As an example, in Germany and the Netherlands, Bombardier operates entirely Ethernet managed trains. Here, the system determines what kind of carriages the train is made up of, which direction they are travelling in and what order they are linked together. This allows it to determine what order to open doors in, as well as other functionality, and replaces the traditional Train Communications Network (TCN). Furthermore, in Zurich, a Hirschmann system controls a rail transport hub made up of shopping arcades and railway stations, which require complex building services. The communication between the management system and the automation stations is managed using a data network based on the Ethernet standard. Another application is the ‘Kölner

Verkehrs-Betriebe AG’ (KVB AG) in Germany, which transports approximately 800,000 passengers per day in the


A modular industrial M2M router has been introduced that allows OEMs and system integrators to link remote devices in an environment where communication technologies are constantly changing (2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi, etc.) and to communicate universally with field equipment. The eWON Flexy is said to provide an almost unlimited number of possibilities: from a simple serial, MPI, or Profibus gateway to Ethernet, to the WiFi LAN router with redundancy via 3G modem. It also gives the opportunity to replace legacy radio and dial-up infrastructure while keeping up with evolving communication technologies. By combining data collection and remote access the Flexy allows users to receive alerts, monitor data, and troubleshoot industrial sites with cost effective solutions. With the router, the WAN flexibility offers the user a choice of

expansion boards to connect to the internet: LAN, RTC, WiFi, CDMA, 2G, 3G. In addition, the FIELD flexibility affects the choice of basic module and expansion boards to connect to devices: four-port Ethernet switch, RS232/422/485 serial ports, MPI/ Profibus port.


metropolitan area of Cologne. On the platform passengers are kept informed via dynamic LED displays and, in addition to train announcements and date and time, information such as delays or company advertising can be displayed as ticker tape or graphics. This application is again based on industrial Ethernet technology from Hirschmann. Then, in London, Electroustic has recently been commissioned to supply network switches for security purposes to help with the London Overground capacity improvement project. These include Ethernet switches, routers and transceivers to ensure fluid integration of the existing security and communications systems into the new network. The connectors will be used in the controlling and monitoring of surveillance on the new longer platforms, making the busy commute more bearable and safe.

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New from B&B Electronics is the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform, a wireless sensor connectivity platform for the rapid deployment of scalable, intelligent, reliable Internet of Things (IoT) networking in demanding environments. In the platform, Wzzard Intelligent Edge Nodes will connect, via conduit fitting cable gland or M12 connector, to any industry-standard sensor. General-

purpose analogue inputs, digital input/output and thermocouple interfaces are included. The company has already integrated internal temperature and accelerometer sensor options, and can integrate other application specific sensors upon request. Furthermore, the IP67 rated Intelligent Edge Nodes are easily configurable, using

Android or IoS smartphones or tablets and the Wzzard app over Bluetooth LE 4.0. For the communications component, B&B chose SmartMesh IP wireless sensing technology from Linear Technologies Dust Networks. Wzzard’s Intelligent Edge Nodes can join the mesh network at any time without gateway interaction. Nodes attach automatically, and the SmartMesh IP technology dynamically self-configures to re-form the mesh network. Wzzard also uses the lightweight, publish/subscribe messaging transport MQTT protocol for sensor communications, and B&B’s programmable, industrial-grade Spectre router serves as the Intelligent Gateway.

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Industrial Ethernet plays an important part in the working life of a train as well as in many aspects of train travel

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