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Support for the largest traffic project in Australia

Australia's first fully automatic underground railway system opens in 2019, with BENNING’s ENERTRONIC modular SE UPS systems ensuring that the signalling system never stops working.

Australia's first fully automatic underground railway system opens in 2019, with BENNING’s ENERTRONIC modular SE UPS systems ensuring that the signalling system never stops working.

Australia is 40% desert, but current studies show it is one of the top ten countries with the highest vehicle densities in the world, with approximately 550 vehicles for every 1,000 residents, due mainly to the heavily populated major cities and coastal regions in the southeast. Over the coming decades, an extra 200,000 people will move into North West Sydney, taking its population above 600,000. In other words: there’ll be over 100,000 more car drivers, so the road network risks becoming overloaded. Which makes it all the more important to have a reliable public passenger transport system to take the load off heavily used roads in congested areas.

To extend Sydney's existing underground, intercity and regional lines in the Chatswood- Epping area, an infrastructure project began in 2012, which is currently the largest in Australia. By 2019, the state will have its first fully-automatic underground rail system, connecting the suburbs in the north-west with Chatswood, Sydney’s business and comtwo mercial centre and giving the suburbs on this line one new and five refurbished railway stations including 4,000 commuter parking places. There are plans to extend this section through the city centre into the south-west by 2024, with one train every four minutes (15 trains an hour), guaranteeing no-one will have to wait long for the next train. In stage comtwo, there are plans to construct a new 30 km tunnel section beneath the harbour and city centre.

22 driverless trains

The new rail sections will be served by 22 driverless trains of six cars each. Each train can carry approximately 1,100 passengers and can have another two cars added if necessary. The new trains will maximise travel safety and passenger comfort while making the underground system more energy efficient; this last benefit due to the trains being relatively light with optimised motor control with integrated energy recovery. The traffic management system also makes operating the trains much simpler.

The illustration shows the principle of the CBTC System, which employs signalling and monitoring systems in order to control the trains.
The illustration shows the principle of the CBTC System, which employs signalling and monitoring systems in order to control the trains.

Automatic train control

The safety system used is an automated CBTC (communication-based train control) system, which means operating and control commands are communicated to the driver – not via visual signals, but via data communications between cars and lineside equipment. This allows the speed to be regulated automatically, for example, reducing the headway between trains because a lineside computer is following and monitoring them – a major plus point for safety. However, this futuristic system for automation and remote control means the train safety system is highly sensitive and complex. If there were any problems with the mains supply or a complete power failure, for example, thousands of commuters would be affected. To prevent this worst-case scenario, the system power supply must be completely reliable.

Customised solution

Before awarding the project, a number of companies were invited to submit power supply systems designed especially for signalling technology. BENNING's solution won because it met the client's design requirements to a great extent. First, BENNING offered an integrated solution, a high-quality unified design comprising a modular UPS, specifically designed multi-voltage power distribution cabinets and AC/DC converters and, second, it provided comprehensive design support at the evaluation stage. The client was also impressed by the fact that BENNING had completed such projects successfully in the past, both for it and other clients. After a planning and evaluation phase lasting just three years, the order was placed in July 2016.

Between December 2016 and September 2017, various ENERTRONIC modular SE UPS systems (ranging from 60–120 kVA including the required batteries) were delivered progressively along with a range of multi-voltage power distribution systems. All these components will be installed in a total of 15 systems and locations in this underground section, ensuring an uninterrupted power supply to the signalling technology

The ENERTRONIC modular SE UPS system is easily scalable and can grow with the operator's requirements.

Optimum service

To offer the client the best possible service, despite the very short lead-time between placing the order and delivering the first products, two subsidiaries – BENNING China and BENNING Singapore – were also involved in the project. Whilst BENNING China validated the design and assembled the power distribution units accordingly, BENNING Singapore made and integrated the UPS systems, conducted trials over several days and on-site commissioning towards the end of 2017.

99.9999% availability

With its ENERTRONIC modular SE range, BENNING supplies the latest three-phase UPS systems with 99.9999% availability, which are leaders in their class. As the railway’s long operating hours mean that the maintenance window availability is extremely limited, this represents a crucial advantage thanks to the modular n+x redundancy design, which has no single point of failure. Combined with a minimum service period, based on 'hot swap' modules amongst other things, this benefits both total operating costs (total cost of ownership) and energy efficiency at over 96%.

Future-proof and scalable

The simple, scalable performance (pay as you grow) of the UPS system means operators can invest confidently in the future, as the system can grow to meet their power requirements which may vary. Other major benefits are the long battery back-up time (four hours) and the high charging current available, so batteries can recharge faster. All these product characteristics are vital in ensuring a highly reliable power supply for signalling equipment, points actuators and automatic train control systems that the client can maintain quickly, easily and cost-effectively. This major project demonstrates once again, that BENNING can produce optimum product solutions for highly demanding processcritical transport applications. State-of-theart UPS systems 'made in Germany', combined with customised multi-voltage power distribution arrangements are a major factor in helping keep the Sydney underground railway system running safely at all times.

Further Information

author/contact: Dirk Meyer
telephone: +49 2871 93 261

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