The Chinese high-speed railway system is a real success story. In a country where distances and population are massive, having a solid infrastructure that connects the main economic centers is essential to accelerate the development of the economy. The project is ambitious and colossal. Since it was first introduced in April 18, 2007, the system has moved over 600 million passengers and it is said to be the fastest, largest and most popular in the world.
As with all modern day installations, safety is the major concern around which high-speed railway are built. Any small anomaly in the regular operation of the system can result in fatal accidents. This applies not only to factors that can be controlled but also to external factors that are out of the control of the system operators. Natural disasters or sabotage need to be taken into special consideration when building a safe network.
To meet these requirements, disaster prevention and safety monitoring systems collect and analyze meteorological, seismic and intrusion data to anticipate natural events and other unwanted circumstances and take appropriate decisions to prevent major tragedies and ensure a safe service.
Typical System Architecture
A typical disaster prevention system integrates a number of monitoring and processing units that are located both in trackside cabinets and in train stations. Data acquisition cards in these units collect the on-site data from the sensors. These meteorological, seismic, ambient and intrusion sensors are placed next to the railway lines to collect data such as rainfall, wind speed,snowfall, fog density, flooding, earthquake activity, movement and tracks or critical rooms temperature.
Data is processed and sent for display in the control center. From this centralized position of situation awareness, unexpected circumstances can be anticipated and their impact minimized by taking preventive action in advance.
High availability and enhanced reliability are the key requirements when deploying mission critical equipment. To plan for 24/7 operation, not only single points of failure need to be eliminated but also the mean time to repair system elements needs to be minimized in order to shorten downgraded operation during fail-over periods when primary elements fail.
Needless to say,harsh railway environments require the deployment of robust equipment. The particularities of a disaster prevention system add to these already demanding requirements as the system needs to support the extreme conditions even when operation is at its most critical. Some of these requirements include extended operating temperature range, advanced vibration/shock resistance and improved EMC performance.
The isolation of the sites where the equipment is going to be installed make maintainability and autonomy important factors to consider in the decision making process. Serviceability features like modularity, remote operation or self-monitoring add immense value to units that will be located in hard-to-access trackside cabinets.
Finally, OEMs offering mission-critical systems demand both greater flexibility, to integrate different configurations and adapt to customer requirements, as well as better upgradability in order to maintain systems in which blades can be replaced with next-generation ones or in order to meet future I/O needs.
Based on the need for “five nines” availability, Advantech's CompactPCI platforms used in disaster prevention systems leverage advanced protection in order to minimize system downtime. Two fully redundant systems in active-passive configuration are integrated in one CPCI chassis. Both systems can work independently and have exactly the same specifications: CPU, power supply, communication cards, and data acquisition cards. When the primary system fails the stand-by system is automatically brought online to take over operation.
High-availability is built in to every aspect of Advantech’s CompactPCI designs. With over 145,000 hours of MTBF for the backplane, the fanless chassis design supports systems with an MTTR of 5 minutes or less. Front hot-swappable boards and power supplies can be replaced in 10 seconds without shutting down the system. Quad-port communication cards allow for different redundant topologies.
With an anti-static metal chassis, Advantech’s CompactPCI platforms offer best electrostatic protection. Advantech’s thermal technology and low power consuming components enable the system to work in extended temperature ranges (-20~70°C/ -4~158°F) without a fan.
Advantech has been developing long-life CompactPCI products for over 10 years. First deployed in 2011, the monitoring and processing units for railway safety applications have been recently upgraded to integrate ultra-low-power Intel® AtomTM CPU blades. By leveraging Intel processors selected from a long-term roadmap and Advantech’s board level integration expertise, customers can benefit from increased product longevity as well as timely new technology upgrades.