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FEATURE INTERCONNECTION


Hardwearing cable protection for harsh rail applications


Durable edge protection from DTi for use in trains protects cables from damage and can be installed in seconds without adhesives, here’s more


flammable and steel-reinforced special thermoplastic, so that in the event of a fire it does not burn further or produce additional toxic smoke. Compared to conventional plastic edge protection, this material also cannot dry out or become porous, even if it is exposed to extreme changes and temperatures”, says Kurzak.


M


odern trains are full of communication technology in order


to exchange information between the individual on-board systems and the outside world. The extensive network of cables is hidden in walls, floors and ceilings, sometimes in very confined spaces. The cables pass sharp edges, which, if inadequately protected, can cause cracks and lead to a short circuit - with fatal consequences such as data loss, system failures or fires. Therefore, a hard-wearing material is required, which protects the cables without being affected by abrasion, vibrations, or extreme temperature fluctuations. Device Technologies (DTi) developed an edge protection designed for use in trains, which is durable and can also be attached by plugging it on without adhesive. In this way, productivity can be


increased as fewer work steps are required and additional costs, such as for adhesives, are eliminated reducing install costs by up to 49%. The steel reinforced SL-FST is also heat and flame resistant. The material was initially used in the aviation industry and has proven itself in environments with high vibration levels, making it ideal for use in high-speed trains and other rail applications. Driver's cab, passenger monitors,


train-land communication interfaces or automatic door control: these are just a few examples of on-board systems in trains that need to communicate with each other to ensure smooth train operations. As a result, modern trains are becoming more and more high- performance computers on wheels, whose most important lifelines - the connecting cables between the


20 OCTOBER 2020 | ELECTRONICS


individual electronic components and signalling devices - must pass through sharp edges and narrow transitions. “If the cables are damaged, for example


by continuous abrasion, short circuits can occur, which in the worst case can paralyse a critical system such as the brakes or cause a fire, " explains Meike Kurzak, managing partner of DTi GmbH. "But data loss or faulty signal control can also occur because of abrasion damage. In addition, these cables are laid in very confined spaces with very little play and are also sometimes subject to high vibration or temperature fluctuations. “For this reason, the edges to be passed


are equipped with a special edge protection, which previously had to be applied with the use of adhesives in a time-consuming process. Especially in case of fire, the nylon grommets themselves which when combined with the adhesives can cause an increased toxic load and smoke development. “DTi customised its grommet edging


solution, Spring-Fast by optimising it to meet the needs of rail transport. The SL- FST edge protection consists of a particularly hard-wearing, non-


Figure 1:


The edge protector simply has to be pushed on along the shape of the edge and pressed firmly into place


NON-FLAMMABLE MATERIAL "The SL-FST consists of a stainless-steel core that is completely encapsulated in a halogen-free and low-toxic thermoplastic compound," explains Kurzak. "This special material is flame- retardant and particularly corrosion- resistant. Because of its properties, the plastic edge protection normally used in the rail industry is more likely to dry out and become brittle if exposed to heat or cold for long periods of time. It can break under sufficient pressure, stress or vibration." The special composition of SL-FST


makes it very resistant to these extreme temperature fluctuations. As a result, the edge protector can be attached to the train both inside and outside. Even the high vibrations occurring on high-speed lines can be absorbed by the special construction of a securely fitting steel core and resistant plastic. SL -FST is designed with a steel core with castles, or gripping teeth, that angle into the edge creating edge retention without adhesives. "We optimised the plastic so that in


“Device Technologies has developed an edge protection especially designed for


use in trains, which is particularly durable and can also be attached by simply plugging it on without the use of adhesives.”


terms of flammability and toxicity it does not add to the smoke and fire development, as would be the case with a plastic that contains questionable additives or is attached with adhesives." In practice this means that in a fire the SL-FST will not support combustion, burn insignificantly, and will only produce a very small, insignificant amount of smoke. As a result, the material meets the strict requirements of DIN EN 45545-2 and is qualified for Hazard Levels 2 and 3.


Device Technologies www.dti-devicetech.eu


/ ELECTRONICS


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