4000 passenger rail cars for a total of 300 trains are scheduled for use in Kazakhstan: Talgo received this order from the Kazakh state railway KZT after successful test runs.
The Spanish train manufacturer specialises in extremely lightweight rail cars with articulated couplings. For this Kazakhstan project, Talgo linked the profitability to a Weidmüller speciality: our global expertise concerning power distribution in transportation systems.
“The mechanical and electrical components used in rail cars are subject to the same extreme challenges around the globe for dealing with vibrations and other strains. The extreme climate conditions in regions like Kazakhstan also add to the requirements,” says Detmar Saalmann, Global Industry Manager for Transportation, about the challenges of the Kazakhstan project. "We used application-specific product customisations and functional testing to deal with these extreme strains. We worked together with our partners on location in Spain and Kazakhstan in order to best understand and implement Talgo’s custom requirements."
As technical consultant for Talgo, Weidmüller conducted a thorough analysis of the situation and recommended the use of a rugged, yet simple solution. All products are easy to operate and yet can withstand extreme climatic conditions.
Safely increasing the current carrying capacity
It is not enough to merely ensure the safe transmission of power and data within a passenger rail car. More importantly, when creating the entire train, is ensuring that these transmissions pass reliably between the rail cars.
The rugged WFF 300 stud terminals are ideal for this type of application. They are made from Weidmüller’s own specially designed Wemid thermoplastic which does not break due to its elasticity. Terminals made from Wemid have no problems withstanding (physically and electrically) freezing temperatures down to -50 °C.
“We determined that the power transmitted between Talgo wagons can reach levels of 720 amperes. In collaboration with our central department for application-specific solutions, we were able to get our stud terminals specially qualified for this application,” says Marc Peinado. Peinado is the local industry manager for Weidmüller who works with Talgo on location.
“We use partitions made of epoxy resin to increase the clearance and creepage distances - so the WFF 300 can carry up to 520 amperes. We also cross-connected two terminals in order to further increase the current capacity of the stud terminals. We carried out heating tests on this solution in our laboratory using special cables and wiring under real-world conditions. We discovered that the cross-linked terminals could reliably transmit 720 amperes without having their temperatures rise above the maximum limit of 120 °C. We supplied Talgo with documented proof of these results as well as reducing the number of stud terminal variants that they required.”
No contradiction: air conditioning systems tested in the cold
Weidmüller also cooperated with Talgo’s suppliers in order to provide a single-source power distribution solution and ensure an efficient international project management process. These suppliers included climate control systems specialist Alte.
“We were considering Kazakhstan’s extreme winters for this project so it almost seemed a contradiction that there would also be air conditioning installed in the rail cars,” explained Peinado with a smile. “We worked with Alte during the entire design phase for the air conditioning systems and electrical cabinets that would be installed in the new Talgo trains.
With support from our technical information and laboratory tests, Alte was able to design an air conditioning system that is perfectly configured for Kazakhstan’s climatic requirements.
Weidmüller’s ZDU terminal blocks are being used for power distribution within the air conditioning units. Our Wemid terminal bases and our self-adjusting tension clamp connections provided a convincing platform for ensuring vibration-resistant contacts. These terminals can be connected without damage, even when work is being carried out in the air conditioning units at expected temperatures of -30 to -40 °C.
Efficient transfer of knowledge - smooth transfer of production
After the initial production of the Talgo rail cars in Spain, the mass production will be transferred to Kazakhstan. To help smooth the transfer of production, Weidmüller is advising and training while the first line manufacturing facility in Kazakhstan is being set up.
So, equipped with knowledge and manufacturing plans, the local production in Kazakhstan can quickly get up and running - a positive result of a partnership across national borders and climate zones.