Railtex 2019 - Meet the experts

Railtex 2019

Railtex 2019 - Meet the experts

Stringent requirements for meeting strict industry standards, coupled with the necessity for robust, rugged components often means that sourcing components for the Rail industry can be very challenging. Sourcing for Rail, rolling stock, infrastructure and signalling covers a surprisingly wide variety of electronic components. Various types of circuit breakers, sensors, power conversion, power supplies, magnetics, optoelectronics, capacitors, resistors, thermostats and motor protectors are all supplied by Charcroft Electronics into Rail applications.

Over the last 10 years, Charcroft have seen some significant changes to the Rail component sector. The largest change is the dramatic increase in the volume of electronic components required. With a large increase in the amount of electronic systems being installed in Rail applications, there has been a shift, moving from the traditional electromechanical components to electronic components instead. We are seeing features being incorporated into carriages such as Wi-Fi, LED lighting, sockets in seats and charging facilities, all of which require more electronic components.

This increase in subsystems is also creating a demand for more DC/DC converters being required – the majority of train battery voltages are 110V, and these DC/DC converters are utilised to covert this to more manageable voltages for the various subsystems and functionalities, such as CCTV systems.

The increased use of electronic components is seen in both new builds and in major maintenance overhaul. During major maintenance overhaul safety critical components such as thermostats in heaters and HVAC are routinely changed, however, we are also seeing the opportunity being taken to modernise the facilities and capabilities within the train with the installation of new systems at this stage, such as wi-fi and charging facilities.

At Charcroft, we see the main future advancement for Rail and rolling stock as a move to greener power. With the UK government pledging to phase out diesel only trains completely by 2040, various other technologies are being developed, with the most likely replacement being hydrogen trains. Hydrogen trains are proposed to be introduced within the next 2 years on certain lines, offering emissions-free rolling stock, more effective performance whilst accelerating, and nearly zero noise.

As with the rest of the electronics industry, lead times for Rail components have been affected, and it can be tempting to consider sourcing outside of usual channels – however, at Charcroft we strongly recommend that you do not fall into that trap. Make sure you continue to rely on franchised sources, and ensure you use reputable distributors who know the Rail industry and requirements.

An understanding of the approvals required, and the harsh, rugged components needed, can allow the customer to be offered alternatives that meet the required fit, form and function. Also, where possible, it means the flexibility to offer customised solutions.

For expert advice on the Rail industry requirements, product demonstrations, and technical support, you can find Charcroft Electronics on Stand J03 at Railtex, May 14-16. We will be joined on the stand by MTM Power, who will be showcasing their range of rail-approved power solutions, including the new AC/DC Modules for Railway Applications. For a free visitor pass, contact our sales team who will be happy to help.