Extremely high safety standards are required in the railway industry, but at the same time companies must respond to high cost pressure in order to remain competitive. The rolling stock sector is no exception. Reuschling (formally “Westfälische Lokomotivfabrik Reuschling GmbH & Co.KG”) in Hattingen (Germany) specialises in refurbishing and fully renovating all makes of rolling stock. The main focus is locomotives, which can then be deployed in freight or marshalling service for a second career. The company’s activities also include updating existing locomotives to the latest safety standards. For safety technology, Reuschling has been relying on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) safety controllers from HIMA for more than three years.
The flexible and scalable HIMA controllers are certified up to CENELEC SIL4 and are superior to proprietary solutions primarily with regard to openness, robustness, high availability and ease of programming. The mature, pre-certified COTS devices offer economic advantages thanks to their low acquisition and operating costs. For example, acceptance of the renovated locomotives is drastically simplified in the approval procedure. The HIMA controllers also put Reuschling on the safe side with regard to standards: the rolling stock fulfils the stringent requirements for safety systems in railway technology of the European CSM Directive and the railway standards EN 50126, EN 50128 and EN 50129. For the core area of safety-relevant functions such as braking or performance control, Reuschling fundamentally specifies safety integrity level SIL3.
“An aspect of our cooperative relationship with HIMA which we especially appreciate is the outstanding personal contact. That's missing with many large companies, but here it's a matter of fact. We rely on cooperation and working as peers to find solutions in order to develop our concepts. In that regard the engineers at HIMA have always been a great help.”
Walter Schreiber, Managing Partner of Reuschling
A new life for rolling stock
The HIMA controllers used by Reuschling fulfil IEC 61373 Class 1B requirements for vibration and shock resistance and are rated for temperature class T1 (–25°C to +70°C). The controller components communicate with each other via the secure SafeEthernet data protocol, and with other devices such as displays and engines over the CAN bus. The controllers are programmed using the fully integrated configuration, programming and diagnostic tool SILworX.Reuschling relies on the future-proof, SIL4 certified HIMatrix F60 safety systems for locomotive renovations. These COTS devices replace outdated locomotive control units, which often do not meet current safety standards or for which spare parts are no longer available. Locomotives upgraded this way are already deployed in the ports of Neuss, Hamm and Bremen and at Yara in Rostock. Additional requests from all parts of the world are presently on hand.
COTS opens up a new business area
Using COTS solutions has enabled Reuschling to open up a new business area with the modular R500C locomotive. The HIMatrix F35 safety systems and associated I/O modules are an important prerequisite for this innovative development. Only a few components, such as the frame and the axle drives, remain unchanged in the thoroughly renovated locomotives. Everything else – controller, engine, transmission, brakes, compressor and so on – is redesigned and built in the form of individual modules. This allows specific customer wishes to be implemented, resulting in a locomotive that precisely matches the desired requirements profile. Cabling effort is minimized by network connections. In addition, the modules can be quickly retrofitted or exchanged, enabling extremely high flexibility. The Job-based Intelligent Monitoring (J.I.M.) software developed by Reuschling is linked to the ModBus interface of the HIMA controller. It supports sensor-based data acquisition for parameters such as wear or emission levels. That facilitates predictive maintenance, allowing maintenance effort and costs to be reduced significantly. J.I.M. is used by Hansebahn Bremen, part of the Captrain Group, among others.
“We deploy 100% COTS solutions. More and more customers recognise the advantages of COTS systems over proprietary controller solutions thanks to widespread use in other areas and the mature, reliable technology. Without these distributed safety solutions from HIMA, we would not have been able to implement the concept for the R500C locomotive. In practice, that gives us another business pillar in the rolling stock market.”
Udo Pinders, Reuschling Partner and Engineering Manager
Reuschling is an example of the opportunities created by COTS in the rolling stock market for retrofit business, in addition to OEM. In Germany there are thousands of old locomotives which can be updated with the aid of COTS solutions to comply with modern safety standards and make them fit for new tasks.