Safety and security on railways starts with meeting international standards for all electronics used, including industrial PCs.
There are several standards that are not only mandatory but also important in the railway market when it comes to electronics such as industrial PCs. Among the most important standards are EN 50155 and EN 45545. Although both are a European Standard, they are internationally recognized and cover some of the most important criteria for railway applications.
The importance of these standards should not be underestimated. In order for electronics, such as industrial computers, to be allowed for use in rail vehicles, they must meet common railway standards like the two previously mentioned.
According to the British Standards Institute (BSI), standard EN 50155 applies to all electronic equipment installed on rail vehicles used for control, regulation, protection, diagnostic, energy supply, etc. The standard defines electronic equipment as “equipment mainly composed of semiconductor devices and recognized associated components.” It also covers the conditions of operation, design requirements
, documentation and testing of electronic equipment, as well as basic hardware and software requirements considered necessary for compliant and reliable equipment.
Whereas EN 50155 applies to all electronic equipment
installed on rail vehicles, EN 45545 addresses fire protection in railway vehicles. EN 45545-2, part two of the standard, addresses the requirements for fire behavior of materials and components, classifying all materials on board railway vehicles into different groups. All these components and materials must fulfill a specific requirement set, which includes several test methods.
Raphael Binder, Head of Product Management at Syslogic
explained how EN 50155 plays a central role in the whole railway industry. “In addition to rail-ready hardware, support during the implementation phase often plays an important role for our customers. The same applies to the rapid availability of test equipment or the implementation of customer-specific requirements. Another important factor is the long-term availability of the devices, as rail vehicles are often in use for 20 years or more,” he said.
When it comes to choosing hardware, Bob Haag, VP of Sales and Marketing at Crystal Group
noted that rail operators must bridge the regulations to which railway organizations need to adhere and the desire to use cutting-edge technologies that can streamline and optimize operations.
“To minimize the risk of technology disruption or failure, operators need hardware that meet the established standards for temperature, vibration, EMI and other requirements. These standards, including EN 50155, are critical to protect against the inevitable impact of the operational environment,” Haag said.
Haag further explained that the challenge many of their customers have is that their desire to use the latest technology-based products is not achievable off-the-shelf (or immediately). This is because most of the leading-edge IT manufacturers aren’t developing products that meet standard requirements and can handle the real-life strain of industrial operations.
Companies like Crystal Group help rail operators meet these challenges by filling this niche need. And they do this by effectively ruggedizing the latest processors, storage devices, networking equipment
and displays to allow operators to get the IT-based hardware they want and need for their artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, while also meeting EN 50155 standards.