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Safe test operations under high voltage

October 2020

Safe test operations under high voltage
Safety first: In a test cage the rail vehicles undergo dozens of functional and electric tests. (Photo: Pilz GmbH & Co. KG)

Safe test operations under high voltage

An integral safety concept from Pilz GmbH & Co. KG – from risk assessment to operations with the automation system PSS 4000 – ensures the safety of Bombardier’s rail vehicle test benches in Bruges.

Pilz GmbH, an automation company based near Stuttgart, was responsible for the development and implementation of the safety concept required for the test benches and therefore carried out the risk analysis, all calculations, the programming, validation and development of the concept. Before rail vehicles that are built by Bombardier in Bruges, Belgium, are allowed to run on international routes, they undergo various functional and electronic tests.

Bombardier tests more than 5,000 connection points per train under 1,000 volts high voltage in test benches. To achieve this, the Pilz automation system PSS 4.000 controls all safe inputs and outputs, using the coded safety switch PSENcode in addition to the emergency stop.

PSENcode monitors the doors to the test cage to prevent unauthorized opening. If an emergency stop is triggered, the entire cage is also disconnected from the power supply.

The safety solution provides employees at the control cabinet with a comprehensive diagnostic tool for these safety functions. The automation system PSS 4.000 from Pilz includes control equipment in various performance classes, numerous I/O modules and visualisation and engineering software. One programmable logic controller (PLC) each assumes the control of two test cages. A PLC is placed in the first test cage and an I/O module in the second, both connected via the real-time Ethernet SafetyNet p.

Efficient data management

Within PSS 4.000, the software platform allows for separately testing PAS 4.000 objects and storing them in a programme library. New objects can be based on existing ones, but they have their own specific parameters. A second similar programme can be created more quickly because the programming effort is reduced. The result is a safe and efficient test operation with low system downtimes.