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TrainPowerLine: System solution for power distribution in rail vehicle networks

Denny Hellige
Denny Hellige
Product Manager Installation Technology, HARTING Electric
Floor area of the railroad wagons: Y-distributor
Floor area of the railroad wagons: Y-distributor

Joining forces with a major train manufacturer, HARTING has developed a new interface for train busbars. Customer specifications stipulated a power supply system solution on the train that would be more flexible, more compact and lighter than existing solutions in accordance with UIC 552. Moreover, faster system assembly was called for, as well as the elimination of error patterns resulting from interfaces with ensuing repercussions on application safety.

The Han® HPR TrainPowerLine is the result of the joint development activities, a uniform Y-distributor with which the entire train busbar gains a pluggable design. The five different interface types according to UIC 552 that have been standard to date will now be replaced by a uniform power interface for the entire energy distribution in the underfloor of each wagon. The advantages range from shorter installation times to more cost-efficient use of materials, compact design with significant weight reduction and uniform processes in assembly. By contrast with the previous system, the inter-car jumpers are plugged in at both ends.

The modular design enables the virtually complete pre-assembly of the TrainPowerLine. During installation on the vehicle, only the single-pole connectors have to be assembled and plugged into the TrainPowerLine Y-distributors. “This massively steps up the speed and security of the installation,” says Walter Gerstl, Global Account Manager at HARTING.

"The TrainPowerLine is part of a system of interface components for the cabling of rail vehicles and locomotive-hauled trains."

Denny Hellige, Product Manager Installation Technology, HARTING Electric

Thanks to modularity, the number of different parts to be stocked is reduced, saving storage space and reducing administrative input. At the same time, user safety takes top priority. Male and female contacts of the TrainPowerLine are completely finger-proof. Regarding potential equalisation the respective connection points and conductive surfaces are provided on the mounting surfaces – added by a defined shielding of the pluggable inter-car connection cables. The protection of the contacts has also been further upgraded: specifically inserted contours on the housings prevent standing ice formation, as the ice is discharged to the sides.

The TrainPowerLine is an entirely new development for high voltage/current transmission. Designed for a continuous load of 800 A and more than 3000 V AC/DC, it meets all the electrotechnical requirements of a UIC 552 interface, although there is no interoperability with existing systems. The housings are made of corrosion-resistant die-cast aluminium, while the surfaces comply with the proven Han® HPR standard. As a result, the new Y-distributor is ideally equipped for the harsh environmental conditions in the underfloor area.

“The challenge consisted of reinterpreting the existing standards and developing our own testing mechanisms,” as Denny Hellige, Product Manager at HARTING Electric, reported. Based on the specifications of the UIC standards – which have been in place for 40 years – the specifications were reinterpreted, while practicable scenarios were developed together with HARTING Corporate Technology Service and external auditing companies in order to be able to approve and release the system in accordance with market requirements.

The TrainPowerLine is part of a system of interface components for the cabling of rail vehicles and locomotive-hauled trains. The primary system is installed in the underfloor and extends to the roof of the vehicle, thereby supplying the various systems onboard trains.

Other new developments, such as the Han® HPTC series of transformer connectors for the connection between the transformer and the traction converter as well as the Han® HPR VarioShell for inter-car jumpers, provide robust and versatile solutions for reliable jumper cable applications optimised for a long service life. According to this system concept, the HARTING components also remain interoperable in detail. The focus has been decidedly placed on the safety and longevity of the entire cabling infrastructure.

Summary: HARTING has substantially contributed to design high-performance, reliable and easy-to-install Han® HPR components for installation that meet the new demands, in order to expand the continuity of the power supply structure. “With our TPL, we are pleased to now be able to offer our customers a genuine alternative to previous solutions in the area of UIC 552 cabling, which reduces the workload and complexity by a significant measure,” as product manager Hellige stated.

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