Network Rail has specified Bender UK to deliver intelligent monitoring of signalling power supplies in a contract worth £2.7 million.
It is the largest single order ever won by Bender UK for the supply of more than 400 integrated protection systems to monitor and protect railway electrical systems and equipment.
The Rail Signalling (RS3) integrated insulation monitoring and earth fault location equipment has been developed by Bender for relay rooms and line-side location on rail networks. It is based on proven technology previously supplied to Network Rail but the improved new generation product has enhanced reliability and is simpler to install and commission. It also incorporates GSM-enabled data loggers equipped for real time direct communication with the rail system’s Intelligent Infrastructure for immediate notification of insulation faults which are identified by the system.
The RS3 system has the ability to identify the location of the fault which means the maintenance teams can respond more rapidly, therefore enhancing safety and reducing downtime costs.
Faults in the power system can arise from a variety of causes such as damaged cables, faulty connections, breaks in insulation and rodent damage. Where these faults lead to earth leakage from the power supply they will be immediately detected by the equipment. More recently, the rail networks power infrastructure has become a target for cable theft and incidents such as these will also be identified.
The RS3 system continually monitors insulation values to show real time status of the power system. When the insulation value (IR) drops the system records the fault and the Bender units put a test current signal or pulse into the system which is pulled to earth at the point where fault exists.
Maintenance teams are guided to the area of the power system which has the fault and a portable Bender device is used pinpoint the location by monitoring the pulse on the trackside cable. Network Rail suffers significant financial penalties for signal failures which impact on the uptime/downtime of the infrastructure, so the time taken to respond and fix the fault is crucial.
RS3 units are normally supplied in a self-contained cabinet, tested and ready for easy ‘plug and play’ installation and commissioning alongside existing power infrastructure systems up to AC650V. The RS3 can also be supplied on a chassis plate for third party switchboard installation.
Bender has also developed a portable RS-PELI unit which can be used trackside to measure and analyse a specific section of the power network to prioritise installation programmes. It is self-powered through connection to the trackside signal electrical network and delivers live monitoring of the system status to immediately indicate if there is an earth fault and the status of the insulation. The portable unit can also be used to provide independent verification of the RS system performance.
Bender UK Managing Director Steve Mason explains: “Most people use our equipment so that they are immediately aware of faults or irregularities, and can plan their intervention around their business needs – intelligent monitoring to deliver intelligent maintenance.
“RS3 continually checks the health of the power system, and immediately notifies the Intelligent Infrastructure via the GSM capability if that status changes, indicating a fault or a problem in the making. The customer can address the fault immediately or plan maintenance intervention - order the parts or arrange for a panel to be stripped and rebuilt.
“Bender UK has conducted field trials to prove the effectiveness of the RS3 system and In one case it led the maintenance team to open up a trackside cable tray in which a cable was glowing hot because of an earth fault that could have resulted in serious disruption to the network.”
The RS3 intelligent insulation and earth fault monitoring system is part of the Bender UK range of rail system protection products that includes monitoring of rail switch points heating units and motors, and control voltage network monitoring for railway crossings.
Lisa Hudson, Bender UK, Low Mill Business Park, Ulverston, Cumbria, 01229 589973, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ref: BenderUK_PR_7_2013 Network Rail
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