Lean safety technology for decentralized interlocking and signalling systems

Railway infrastructure companies around the world face enormous cost pressures. At the same time, proprietary safety technology for interlockings, level crossings and signalling systems is frequently overdesigned, adding non-safety-related functions that increase costs. Lean solutions such as HIMax and HIMatrix from HIMA cost much less than traditional technology and can be implemented in interlocking and signalling technology.

"Particularly for interlocking and signalling technology, COTS safety controllers have considerable advantages over proprietary technology," says Sedat Sezgün, Head of Rail at HIMA. "Our control systems for the rail industry offer maximum safety and make decentralized interlocking and signalling systems "smart” at a relatively low cost. At the same time, they aren’t burdened with all the unnecessary functions that a central control system controls. At remarkably low prices and with greater flexibility, these lean solutions will become the go-to choice in the long term."


Today's electronic interlocking systems have many functions that are not safety-relevant but which add costs. Ideally, interlocking systems should be purely dedicated to setting points and ensuring safe operation. Their job is to detect changes in the position of the points and send a "track free/not free" signal.

This lean approach is supported by vibration- and shock-resistant HIMatrix and HIMax COTS safety controllers. Both are approved by CENELEC for use up to SIL 4, the highest safety integrity level. Furthermore, they are designed with open interfaces and a standard operating system such that rail infrastructure companies can benefit from their greater flexibility and future-proof design.

Modern electronic interlocking systems developed for regional routes in accordance with CENELEC standards EN 50126, 50128 and 50129 require programmable logic controllers which comply with the highest safety standards. HIMatrix systems are suitable for applications that do not need redundancy, while redundant HIMax systems are suitable for use in large stations or traffic hubs.

About HIMA

The HIMA Group is the world's leading independent specialist in solutions for safety-critical applications. With more than 35,000 installed systems and TÜV-certified hardware and software, HIMA qualifies as the leading technology company in this sector. For over 45 years the world's largest oil, gas, chemical, pharmaceutical and energy-producing companies have relied on HIMA products, services and consulting to provide uninterrupted plant operations and protection for people and the environment. HIMA solutions are also leading the way to increased safety and profitability in the rail industry, logistics and machine operations. An independent family-owned company, HIMA operates from over 50 locations worldwide, has a workforce of approximately 850 employees and in fiscal year 2015 generated sales of nearly €119 million. For more information, please go to www.hima.de 

The lean solution: interlocking systems based on HIMax and HIMatrix COTS safety controllers.

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