Pilz PSS 4000-R safety PLCs have been used widely throughout Europe at level crossings, which has partly led Network Rail to work with Pilz in the development of a case for their use in the UK. Throughout the next 5 years over 464 level crossings need upgrading; the cost can be drastically reduced by replacing traditional railway signalling relays with safety PLCs.
Railway relays are large and a typical automatic relay-controlled level crossing requires a REB (re-locatable electrical building) to house them. There are also maintenance and fault finding issues associated with the hardwired relay logic.Software-driven PLC logic with attendant space and lifetime cost saving are extremely attractive.
Thanks to existing applications in Europe Pilz has gained CENELEC approvals to rail-specific safety standards (EN 501xx) making the work of verifying and validating a PLC controlled level crossing even quicker.
The first stage has been the development of rigs which show how a PSS 4000-R system can be used to control the most complex of level crossings, the MCB-OD, which is an automatic barrier system with RADAR and LIDAR obstacle detection. A real-world application is not far away as stakeholder buy-in has been secured on all major routes.
The project was presented at the IET Railway Safety event on the 3rd of July 2014 by David Collier, Business Development Manager, Pilz UK and Tahir Ayub, Senior Design Authority Engineer, Signalling Innovations Group, Network Rail.
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