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Rail News Home MOW

January 2019

Rail News: MOW

Wire and cable accessory suppliers share their latest wares

Offered by nVent, the ERIFLEX Flexibar Advanced flexible busbar, shown here, is installed in an electrical panel.
Photo – nVent



nVent offers an array of products, including nVent ERICO Cadweld, which is used for making exothermic welded connections on track. The company also offers the nVent ERIFLEX product line for electrical conduction and low voltage power distribution (AC/DC power conversion). Used across a range of industries, ERIFLEX products provide "unique advantages that are ideal for railways electrical systems, both onboard and trackside," the company said in an email.

ERIFLEX products include flexible busbars, distribution and power blocks, metallic braids and cabling sleeves.

The advantages of ERIFLEX products are evident in solutions such as the ERIFLEX Flexibar Advanced flexible busbar and the ERIFLEX IBSB Advanced insulated braided conductor, the company says. Both are composed of precise layers of electrolytic copper that provide for a flexible, low profile and lightweight design. They also are insulated with "advanced material that allow for high working temperatures," the company said.

The proprietary TPE insulation of Flexibar Advanced and IBSB Advanced is low smoke and halogen free in conformance with EN 45545-2, the European standard fire-performance requirement for materials and products used onboard railway vehicles, the company said. It’s one reason these cable replacement solutions are "increasingly being used in low-voltage power distribution applications for onboard electrical systems," nVent officials said.

Electrical and optical interconnectivity components

Rail-car builders, sub-system designers, and train control and communications engineers have questions about how to manage "new demands for in-carriage and wayside connectivity," according to HUBER+SUHNER officials. Among the questions HUBER+SUHNER said these customers are asking:

• How can we fit all the wire and signal cable required for new system controls in passenger rail and locomotives?
• How can we assure we provide maximum fire safety without sacrificing cable performance and service life?
• What is the optimum antenna + cable assembly design for our new in-carriage application, wayside network, or subway system?
• How can I use new technology to lower cost and speed deployment of communication systems in transit?
• How can I assure the system I install today will be robust for the future?

HUBER+SUHNER manufactures electrical and optical interconnectivity components and systems for the transit industry. A connected mobility and kitted solutions provider, the company said it combines technological capabilities in three core fields: radio frequency, fiber optics and power/signal wire and cable.

"Our large portfolio of mobile antennas and RF components, databus and ethernet cables, fiber optic cables and connectivity management systems, and light weight RADOX® traction cables and inter-vehicle jumpers are designed specifically for deployment in both onboard vehicle and trackside railway networks," company officials said in an email. "Our Low Smoke Halogen Free RADOX® cables meet rigorous global standards, including NFPA 130, EN45545, and GOST. Our cables and assemblies are designed for high-vibration environments, and allow reduction of weight and fireload, while reducing space required for cable runs in protected and high flex requirement applications."

Times Microwave:
RF interconnects

Times Microwave Systems has been supplying the LMR brand of low-loss RF interconnects to the rail and transit industry for more than 25 years. Applications have ranged from base stations and communication shelters, to onboard GPS systems, SCADA control, communications-based train control and positive train control (PTC) systems.

"One of the biggest challenges is to provide RF interconnect products that offer rugged outdoor performance, as well as maintaining flexibility for easy routing within the many different scenarios that installers will come across," the company said in an email. "In addition, one of the biggest challenges for installers of PTC and RF communications systems is to attach connectors in the field, many times under adverse conditions."

Times offers the CST family of strip tools and "EZ" style, no-braid trim connectors. Installers can use a one-piece prep tool to trim the LMR cable to the exact dimensions for connector attachment, the company said. After prepping, the EZ style connectors are pushed on and then crimped to the outer braid shield of the coaxial cable. The inner contact is a "non-solder" spring finger, which is designed to eliminate the need for special soldering attachment tools in the field.

Using these products results in "consistent and reliable RF connector to cable retention, and thus excellent RF broadband electrical performance," the company said. These connectorized coax assemblies will offer optimum RF transmission performance from 50 MHz through 6.0 GHz, which covers "just about all" licensed and unlicensed frequency communication bands, including the 220 MHz PTC applications, the company said.

Other Times Microwave products include slide-up WSB silicone boots, which can be used to eliminate the outer shrink boot process required to properly weather seal the finished RF assemblies; and the Times-Protect™ series of lightning protection products.

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