The rail and transit market is growing, and that is driving demand for diesel-electric locomotives, heavy and light-rail cars, rapid transit cars, rolling stock, control systems, and communications.
North America has long been the leading player in freight while Europe and Asia have been leaders in passenger transit. However, population movement to urban centers, infrastructure investment programs, and an increased demand for public transportation, are boosting growth in passenger rail transit in both North America and Europe.
OEM's are facing increasing customer demand and expectations, plus widespread cost increases often driven by increased regulation on environmental, safety, and security issues. This is making rail and transit OEMs investigate new technologies and to look for efficiencies anywhere they can find them – in components, processes or systems.
All these systems rely on long term performance and reliability in cabling and connectivity. Wiring is really the train's “nervous system” as it supplies the power and data to run and control every aspect of its operation from braking and lighting to communications and passenger infotainment.
Wire management and protection products that support these systems must provide superior performance, including flame retardancy, minimal smoke and toxicity (aka FST – Fire, Smoke, Toxicity) and where appropriate abrasion protection or resistance.
Wiring is Critical
In every rail transit system thousands of wires are routed through runways or guideways under the floor, in ceilings, or walls. These guideways have multiple cut-outs to allow for wiring and even wire harnesses to pass through so they can provide data to the areas that need it. In addition the racks that facilitate communication have to be wired and managed to minimize abrasion and chafing.
Chafing and rubbing can degrade data flow which, in turn, affects safety and passenger satisfaction, especially if it leads to the more serious arcing, sparking, and short circuits.
Role of Tougher Regulation
Regulations are getting tougher and more specific with every year driven by environmental, safety, and security issues.
For example, the guideways have to comply with NFPA 130 regulations which set the standard for fire protection and life safety requirements for underground, surface, and elevated transit and passenger rail systems. This requires silicone seals and edging to lessen the impact of heat or fire.
Seals around primary and secondary braking systems are critical as they house the control systems for stopping the train as needed. Most often the enclosures that hold these systems are underneath the carriage itself and as such exposed to all the elements – water, vibration, heat, dust, and wind. Those seals have to perform.
DTi FST Protection Products Can Help
DTi’s offers FST compliant.products in three key groups: grommet edging, seals, and edge trim. They are designed to prevent chafing, arcing,and sparking and to protect vital equipment against environmental challenges. For example, DTi is in the middle of a project for Kawasaki who are producing M9 cars for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). We are providing seals to protect the vulnerable external braking system enclosures.
DTi is also working with PorterBrook Rail in the UK on a number of projects using these protection products. PorterBrook specializes in the leasing of new and refurbished railway rolling stock and associated equipment. Porterbrook so far has invested £2.7 billion ($3.5 billion) in new trains and over £300 million ($400 million) on existing fleet refurbishment in the UK.
Product details below.
Spring-Fast SL-FST Series Grommet Edging.
- Best in class performing grommet.
- Finger pressure application saves 49% of total install costs vs. nylon grommets and glue.
- Thin light CRES substrate fully TPE encapsulated creates static friction to meet aerospace/rail retention standards.
- Low profile for use anywhere chafing is a risk, e.g., bulkheads, flooring, and seating.
- NFPA 130 and EN 45545 compliant.
- High Performance EN 45545 compliant silicone.
- Protects against extreme heat and cold.
- Bulb compresses to prevent damage from environment and wear and tear.
- Ideal for doors, windows, and cabinets such as access panels and turret hatches for tanks.
- High performance EN 45545 compliant silicone.
- Finished edge trim protects thicker panel applications.
- Engine compartments and wire and cable assemblies.
Grommets, Seals, and Trims
- 100's of profiles available off the shelf.
- 100% US produced for sourcing requirements.