Looking deeply into the most challenging and diverse market specifications for high voltage systems for rail, to provide the right solutions
Elizabeth joined TE in November 2011 to support the HV Rail team, she holds a PhD in HV from the University of Manchester. She has over 25 years of experience in HV Power Systems with a strong track record of achievements in the Academy, Applied Research & Development and Project Managing. A Senior member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer) with more than 50 fully reviewed international technical papers.
Since Elizabeth joined TE she has been supporting design and testing of the rail HV products, managing the engineering team to cover HV rolling stock design and life cycle activities, supporting sales, manufacturing and customer support.
How important is the relationship between engineering and the customer during HV Rail projects?
When we talk about projects of HV in Rail we talk about power systems with movement, therefore in addition to the usual electromechanical variables governing the power systems we have new variables such as environmental conditions, speed, space and weight that make each design unique. i.e. the same train travelling routes with different topographies, different number of stops or different levels of pollution in the environment, will have different roofline systems.
Therefore for any project the interaction with our customers is critical. They are the first source of information, and it is through that information and working together, that we can design the right solution for each case.
How do you think the collaboration between internal units of TE can help innovation?
One of the advantages of being a company that serves multiple industries is that in many cases the advances and innovations of some industries can be transferred to others. For example, the Rail industry, which has a long product (trains) lifecycle (30 years), the innovation usually comes through proven products from other industries, such as Aerospace, Automotive & Energy.
Therefore, in the HV engineering team we have been collaborating with other units in a regular basis, mainly with Energy who has a broad portfolio for power systems, we also work with AD&M which is an industry that has some similarities with the Rail industry.
We are constantly evaluating which of the Energy products can be tested to be used in Rail or what would be the necessary adaptations to adapt them to the Rail market. A critical factor to consider is the low volume used in Rail (compared with the energy industry), so finding leverage on their products is an efficient way of innovation.
What you think is the most important challenge in the HV area of Rail?
I would say that the most important challenge is that the industry needs to recognise the complexity of the HV systems on trains and stimulate the research and development in this area.
The Rolling Stock industry has and still is dominated by its mechanics, which has led innovation to areas such as engines, brake systems, aerodynamic, etc. - the HV power system which gives energy to the train has therefore been cast aside.
As part of our tasks we constantly perform advisory consultancy to our customers. Since the high voltage system is related to the rest of the train system (engine, brakes, doors, etc), we must recognise that the performance of these systems has an impact on the performance of the high-voltage system and its requirements.
We in TE are training a new generation of HV engineers which not only will have the necessary expertise to face this challenge, but even they will lead innovation and build the new systems that the industry require.
Explores why the components that carry the 25 kV power supply from the catenary lines to the traction transformer must be unique for every rail application and consider the electrical, climatic, mechanical and other challenging constraints.