Ansaldo STS has always devoted ongoing attention to research and development, in order to identify and create innovative technical solutions and develop products of the very highest quality, safety and environmental standards.
Ansaldo STS’ innovation governance model involves all its companies and combines strategies, technologies, products, resources and markets so that research and development arises out of the excellent, distinctive expertise found within the company and the real needs of its customers.
Ansaldo STS’ organisational structure ensures internal factors and external assessments are systematically integrated.
Main products conceived and undergoing development
Over the years, Ansaldo STS has conceived and developed products and solutions that have pushed it to a leadership position in the Signalling Systems and Railway and Urban Rail Transportation Sectors.
OTP - Optimizing Traffic PlannerTM
OTP is an innovative traffic management and railway handling system that redirects traffic in real time to increase speed and optimise vehicle movement, identifying the shortest and most efficient paths for trains. The OTP system can substantially increase network capacity, reducing operating costs at the same time.
ATC (Automatic Train Control) and ATP (Automatic Train Protection) systems
These are automatic train speed control systems in line with ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) standards. They enable operators to control the safe movement of trains on railway lines, while continuously monitoring their position, maintaining safe distances and compliance with speed limits.
The ATC system also includes a driverless function with various degrees of automation.
CBTC – Communication Based Train Control
CBTC is a two-way, radio-based train distancing communications system between wayside and vehicle. It is in line with international standards (IEEE 14188.8.131.52) and offers utmost operating flexibility, complete interoperability on metro lines managed by different systems/technology operators.
Carborne controllers determine vehicle position and enforce movement within the authorised limits (LMA = limit of movement authority). Each vehicle’s position is updated and reported continuously to the wayside Area Controller. The Area Controller can update each vehicle’s LMA, knowing the position of the previous vehicle going in the same direction. This tool makes it possible to set a “moving block”, which safely and significantly shortens the headway between two consecutive trains on the same track, increasing the transportation system’s overall capacity.
Communication between adjacent zone, interlocking and carborne controllers supports safe headway maintenance and maximises line capacity.
Ansaldo STS has already installed and fully rolled out this technology on the Paris Metro Line 3 and, in China, on Lines 1 and 2 of the Chengdu Metro and on Line 1 on the Zhengzhou Metro. It is currently designing and, in some cases, installing this technology on projects including the Ankara Metro, the Stockholm Metro’s Red Line, the Taipei Metro’s Circular Line, the Milan Metro’s Line 4, the Copenhagen Metro’s Cityringen and the Riyadh Metro (the last two will be driverless), along with another six metro lines in China, in the cities of Shenyang, X’ian, HangZhou and Dalian.
Ansaldo STS has implemented the interlocking platform known as WSP (Wayside Standard Platform), capable of managing a greater number of trackside equipment using a smaller number of basic components and integrating safety, diagnostics and traffic management functions in one single control station, poised to become the best response to the increasingly sophisticated demands of the railway and metro market.
Since the late nineties, Ansaldo STS has implemented the requirements for an “open” platform on standard protocols, such as, TVM Lyon-Marseilles (1999), ERTMS Rome-Naples (2005), Turin-Milan (2006), Milan-Bologna (2008), Zheng-Xi (2010), Madrid-Lleida (2011), Cambrian (2011), Poříčany-Kolin (2011), Haparandabanan (2013), the CBTC lines in Chengdu (2011), Shenyang (2012), the Ankara Metro (2014) and the conventional Turin‐Padua lines (2014).
This is a power system for trams that uses an embedded ground-level power supply which only energises the part of the line being used by a tram. The system enables the protection of historic city centres, as it eliminates conventional overhead electric lines. The concept behind this innovative tram system and the excellent results achieved in the wake of testing have generated enormous interest among urban planners in countries looking for safe, ecological and low-environmental impact public transit solutions.
In November 2013, a contract was signed with the Chinese company CNR Equipment Engineering Co Ltd for the supply of 17 km of TramWave® double track lines to build a new tram system in the city of Zhuhai in southeast China. The contract also provides for the installation of the related reception, diagnostics and powering systems. It has made it possible for Ansaldo STS to build the first catenaryfree tramway and begin the technology transfer process to the CNR/GRG joint venture, which will manufacture and sell the product in China in exchange for a lump sum and royalties for each km of line sold. In November 2014, a trial run took place along a 1 km section using a tram from the fleet as part of an international event in Zhuhai. The next objective is to complete the entire line to be in service by summer 2015.
For the first time in railway history, Ansaldo STS has used satellites to manage safe train travel. In March 2012, Ansaldo STS signed the 3InSat contract with ESA (European Space Agency) to develop and validate new safe geo-localisation and satellite telecommunications platforms to be used for ERTMSETCS railway signalling systems. Ansaldo STS is the head of an industrial consortium that includes the participation of, inter alia, RFI, DB-Nets and DLR (Germany’s space agency), which, together with ASI (Italy’s space agency) are the greatest contributors to the European satellite navigation system, GALILEO.
Ansaldo STS’ solution constitutes a technological innovation of global importance. It will use geolocalisation satellite technology instead of conventional train localisation systems, which require electronic devices installed along the railway line, thereby reducing costs and environmental impact.
In 2014, the development phase of the satellite systems was completed and testing on the Cagliari- Olbia line started with the prototypes. During the first stage, Ansaldo STS tested the feasibility of the TLC satellite system integrated with the cellular network while the second stage will extend into 2015 and consists of testing the on-board and wayside satellite localisation equipment.
TCCS - Train Conformity Check System
TCCS is a multi-functional railway portal that automatically detects irregular conditions that affect rolling stock in transit. It is one of the company’s key projects thanks to its cutting edge technology. Thanks to its sensors, the portal controls passing trains at cruise speed and overlaps the visible form, laser and infrared to detect:
- the composition of the train and models of component vehicles;
- overheated parts of the train and fire risk;
- abnormal load;
- shape compatibility.
TCCS ensures higher safety standards for the railway system, reducing the risk of accidents.
The TCCS product was developed on the multifunction portal prototype installed at Sezze (Latina), ordered by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) after its call to tender. It is currently in use. In 2014, the engineering and commissioning work was finished for stage 1 of the SHAH-HABSHANRUWAIS (an area in Abu Dhabi, UAE) railway line, to be completed by 2015.
Product and solution safety and reliability
Ansaldo STS ensures that its products, applications and systems, which it develops and delivers are: safe, in compliance with the Italian and international laws applicable to the railway systems; reliable, pursuant to its customers’ needs and its internal quality standards.
These activities are performed on all Ansaldo STS projects in which safety and reliability are relevant, which constitute over 90% of total company activities.
Safety and reliability are achieved through hazard analysis, a structured process in line with sector standards. It begins with the identification of hazards based on previous experience, the assessment of specifications for the various processes stages and hazard workshops during which experts from Ansaldo STS and customers discuss the various issues. Potential hazards are then included in a hazard log, which is constantly updated over the life cycle of the project. For each hazard mapped, the log also includes the mitigation measures, activities to check that they were effectively implemented and an assessment of the residual hazard. The residual hazard level is assessed and accepted only if it is below the limits established by standards and customer requirements.
The main safety standards are those issued by CENELEC - European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation. Specifically, relevant standards are:
- CEI 50126 on RAMS applicable to rail transportation;
- CEI 50128 on software security;
- CEI 50129 on electronic device safety;
- CEI 50159 on railway communications security.
Recording and assessment of nonconformities and accidents to improve safety
Any non-conformities with safety specifications during the development, testing and, obviously, roll-out, are carefully analysed and recorded. In general, no conduct of this type is tolerated and requires a review and change (hardware or software) in the element that does not meet the technical specifications provided for.
In general, Ansaldo STS gathers two types of data to assess the reliability of its products: data on parts (fault charts), beginning with the assistance requests sent to the Service unit and data on systems affecting the key service parameters (frequency of trains, skipped runs, delays, etc.). Data on parts are analysed to identify the most defective parts and alternative solutions are sought to improve performance, while for data on systems, all service interruptions are analysed to determine the causes.
Reliability of solutions
The reliability of solutions is also due to the use of redundant platforms that provide fault tolerant configurations, i.e., those that can continue to function even when certain sections present faults. This type of approach was successfully applied in Italian high-speed railways, where specific systems have been developed for the diagnostics and control of the electrical substations. These tools make it possible to plan “preventive maintenance” on lines, i.e., monitoring all substations and reporting when one of them is at risk of faults. In this way, greater environmental sustainability is ensured, with the resulting reduced consumption of spare parts and lower risk of service interruptions on the line due to faults.
Safer spaces for customers and end users
Ansaldo STS offers passengers safe and controlled areas by equipping network vehicles with sensors that constantly monitor railway areas. The sensors operate around the clock.