This fail-safe system will help keep trains on the right track

16-08-2016 |   |  By Paul Whytock

A fault-tolerant and fail-safe system for train control and rail signaling has been developed by Artesyn Embedded Technologies.

Safety Integrity Level 4 (SIL4) certification has been awarded to the ControlSafe Platform (CSP) with ControlSafe Computer (CSC) and ControlSafe Software.

Artesyn says It is one of the first embedded computing systems to use commercial off-the-shelf components to create a fail-safe and fault-tolerant computing platform for a variety of train control and rail signaling applications.

The company believes the CSP will help rail application developers and system integrators to achieve faster time-to-market without the pressures of the potentially high costs and risks associated with the stringent SIL4 system development and certification process.

The system is designed to deliver best-in-class platform hardware availability of six nines (99.9999%) claims Artesyn and will meet the functional safety, reliability and availability requirements demanded by rail standards and specifications.

It uses a data lock-step architecture that supports high performance processors and is modular, scalable and designed to seamlessly accommodate additional I/O interfaces as well as new processor architectures throughout the product life cycle. In addition the CSP hardware-based voting mechanism maximises software transparency to allow rail application developers to migrate existing application software.

The CSP consists of two redundant CSCs, each of which provides fail-safe operation. They are linked by a safety relay box (SRB) or direct connect algorithm (DCA) that monitors the health of the two CSCs, designates one as active and the other as standby and controls fail-over operation between the two CSCs to deliver a fail-safe fault tolerant computer system.

The ControlSafe Platform is designed to support a range of I/O modules such as CAN, Ethernet, Ethernet Ring, UART, MVB, digital, analog and GPS/Wireless to enable solution integrators to handle both new deployments and upgrade projects easily.


By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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