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 operates daily with the aim of improving quality of life by designing new transport systems which, every day, safely carry millions of people and materials without polluting, by developing increasingly compact and energy-efficiency hardware, by researching new green technologies and, above all, by optimizing consumption and avoiding waste.
Today the Ansaldo STS team within the Hitachi group can further develop its innovative approach, also by tapping the group’s references in the Big Data and Internet of Things field.
It is now possible to come up with solutions that improve performance and services offered by combining different technologies.
- RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOR CUTTING EDGE PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS
In 2016, Ansaldo STS invested approximately €38.6 million in research and development to supply its customers and end users with cutting-edge products and solutions and the very best railway and urban rail transport system design and construction methods and procedures in order to increase safety and reduce their direct and indirect environmental impact.
- SAFETY AND RELIABILITY
Ansaldo STS ensures that it develops and delivers products, applications and systems that are: safe, in compliance with Italian and international laws and reliable, pursuant to its customers’ needs and its internal quality standards.
It achieves this through RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability & Safety) activities.
- PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS THAT RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
For Ansaldo STS, innovation is synonymous with respect for the environment. It is committed to researching products and solutions that contribute to reducing energy and raw materials consumption. It pays increasing attention to using environmentally-friendly materials, starting at the design stage.
Main products conceived and undergoing development
Over the years, its development of products and solutions - Development and Engineering - (see “Innovation governance scheme”) has carried Ansaldo STS to a leadership position in the Signaling Systems and Railway and Mass Transit 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 optimize 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, 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. Over the years, this system’s specifications evolves and in addition to being a company taking part in defining new specifications, ASTS adapts all of its systems in keeping with the European standard.
Completion of the Pioltello-Treviglio (Italy) and Berlin- Rostock (Germany) Pilot Lines adjusted to the latest version of the ERTMS specifications.
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 and complete interoperability on metro lines managed by different systems/technology operators. The control systems installed on board calculate the vehicle’s position and adapt the movement of the vehicles within the authorized limits (MAL = Movement Authority Limit). Each vehicle’s position is updated and reported continuously to the wayside Area Controller. The Area Controller can update each vehicle’s MAL, 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 the control systems in the adjacent interlocking areas, in rail yards and on board, allows for a safe time management between the vehicles headway and the line capacity.
Ansaldo STS has already installed this technology and fully put it into service on Line 3 of the Paris Metro and on Line 1 and Line 2 of the Chengdu Metro and on Line 1 of the Zhengzhou Metro in China. This system is instead in the design stage and in some cases in the installation stage on projects such as the Ankara Metro, the Red Line in Stockholm, the Circular Line in Taipei, Line 4 in Milan, the CityRingen of the Copenhagen Metro, the Riyadh Metro (with the latter two managing the driverless mode) and 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. ASTS also adapts its interfacing with the yard using new generation equipment and components.
Ever since the late 1990s Ansaldo STS has implemented the requisites for the “open” platform on standard protocols, such as: Lyon-Marseilles TVM lines (1999), ERTMS lines Rome-Naples (2005), Turin-Milan (2006), Milan-Bologna (2008), Zheng- Xi (2010), Brescia-Treviglio (2016), Madrid-Lleida (2011), Cambrian (2011), Poříčany-Kolin (2011), Haparandabanan (2013), CBTC lines in Chengdu (2011), Shenyang (2012), the Ankara Metro (2014) and Turin-Padua conventional lines (2014).
This is a power system for trams that uses an embedded ground-level power supply which only energizes the part of the line being used by a tram. The system enables the protection of historic city centers, 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.
A contract with the Chinese company CNR Equipment Engineering Co Ltd was signed in November 2013. It covered the supply of 8.7 km of TramWave® double track contact line to build a new tramline in the city of Zhuhai, in south-east China. This agreement also covered the installation of the associated collection, diagnostics and power supply systems. This is the first time Ansaldo STS will build a catenary-free tramline, and the technologies will also be transferred to the JV CNR/GRG, which will be able to produce and sell the product in the Chinese territory in exchange for a lump sum and royalties for every km of line sold. In November 2014, a trial run took place on the occasion of an international event held in the city of Zhuhai. It covered a 1-km TramWave-equipped section using a tram vehicle belonging to the fleet. The works were completed in 2015 and the trial run was extended to the entire line while awaiting activation of the revenue service at the end of the testing phase.
For the first time in railway history, Ansaldo STS has enabled the satellites use to manage safe train travel. In March 2012, Ansaldo STS signed the 3InSat contract with the ESA (European Space Agency) to develop and validate new safe geo-localization and satellite telecommunications platforms to be used for ERTMSETCS railway signaling 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’s solution constitutes a technological innovation of global importance. It will use geolocalization satellite technology instead of conventional train localization systems, which require electronic devices installed along the railway line, thereby reducing costs and environmental impact.
The development stage of the satellite systems was completed in 2014 and following a testing phase on the Cagliari-Olbia railway line with the prototypes, the testing phase came to a successful conclusion with results appreciated in both the national and international railway sectors. Following a preliminary stage for checking the feasibility of the TLC satellite system integrated with the cellular network, during the second stage carried out in 2015 and 2016 the functions and performance of the train and wayside satellite positioning equipment were fully checked. The 3InSat Project wound up in 2016. In the aftermath of the positive results attained up to today, RFI and Trenitalia officially voiced their interest in adopting the integrated satellite solution on ERTMS L2/L3 on almost 45% of the conventional secondary network, replacing the current signaling systems.
In order to maintain its leadership position in the ERTMS satellite technology sector and to extend the existing functionalities, Ansaldo STS launched the following projects:
- the “ERTMS on Satellite – Enabling Application and Validation” project financed by the GSA in 2015;
- the “Satellite Technology for Advanced Railway Signaling” project financed by the GSA (European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency) launched in 2016;
- the “Railway High Integrity Navigation Overlay System” project which was launched by the GSA in 2016.
Furthermore, Ansaldo STS is party to a contract for the provision of a signaling system for freight traffic that positions rolling stock using the satellite technology, for the customer Roy Hill. The line was activated in both IETO mode and full LDS mode during 2016.
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 starting from the multi-function portal prototype installed in Sezze (Latina), ordered by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana following its call for tenders. Today it has been completed and is up and running. In 2015, two new portals were installed in Italy (on the Milan-Genoa and La Spezia- Parma lines). The goal was to guarantee safety in order to protect the railway tunnels. SIL4 certification according to CENELEC standards was obtained.
Product and solution safety and reliability
Ansaldo STS ensures that it develops and delivers products, applications and systems that are: safe, in compliance with Italian and international laws applicable to railway systems and reliable, meeting its customers’ needs and its quality standards. It achieves this through RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability & Safety) activities.
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 from the customer 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 Standardization. Specifically, relevant standards are:
- CEI 50126 on RAMS applicable to railway field;
- CEI 50128 on software security;
- CEI 50129 on electronic device safety;
- CEI 50159 on railway communications security.
Recording and assessment of non-conformities and accidents to improve safety
Any non-conformities with safety specifications during the development, testing and, obviously, roll-out, is carefully analyzed 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 analyzed to identify the most defective parts and alternative solutions are sought to improve performance, while for data on systems, all service interruptions are analyzed 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 highspeed 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.
Ansaldo STS’s measures to improve the sustainability of its products and solutions