Specifying electrical components for applications which will be used within the rail industry can be a daunting task. Not only can the operating environments be extremely hard wearing, with high volumes of dust and debris found trackside, but there are many safety certifications which must be met due to the inherent dangers of carrying high volumes of passengers at high speeds surrounded by high voltages. Even components as simple as the humble cable gland need to conform to relevant certifications.
One of the biggest causes of concern within the rail industry is the risk of electrical fires on board a train. Due to the harsh environments in which trains operate, with very real dangers of regular high speed collisions with debris, it is vital that the components are extremely hard wearing and have been specified to withstand impacts. In the case of components such as cable glands, which protect electrical entry points, it is also vital that they protect against dust ingress at all times. In the event that the worst does happen, all components must also conform with relevant fire safety standards.
As would be expected, the standards within Europe, the USA and most other countries with a well developed railway network are extremely high and the approval process is tough. Depending on the material of the component and type of application that it will be used in (track side, station, rolling stock etc.) the approval process will vary, but ultimately the tests are designed to ensure that in the event of a fire the components will not cause additional hazards to passengers or operators.
An important consideration for non-metallic components is the way that the material behaves in a fire; with regard to reaction to fire, opacity of smoke and toxicity of the gasses emitted. In the event of a fire it is important that components to do not create additional choking hazards or reduce visibility of fire exits due to smoke. They are also tested on their ability to be extinguished should they ignite. Finding components which comply with these standards can be challenging, but is essential to minimising any potential risk.
To help support OEMs and electrical installers who operate within the rail industry, Hylec-APL has launched a new cable gland range which can withstand the day-to-day wear of the rail industry and is fully certified for use in railway applications for both the European and American rail industry. The cable gland offers IP68 ingress protection, meaning that the entry point is fully protected from the smallest dust particles and water ingress, and has passed all the relevant fire safety tests to achieve NF F 16-101 and UL 514B certification.
Terry Spriggs, Product Marketing Manager for Hylec-APL, comments: “Due to the confined spaces and ever present electrical hazards found in the industry, safety requirements for components in railway applications exceed most standard certifications. The latest addition to our cable gland range offers OEMs and electrical installers who work within the industry a quick, effective and safe solution for securing cable entry points.”
The IP68 dome topped cable gland uses traditional means to form a quick and secure connection; an integrated anchorage is part of the design which is then secured to the entry point of the enclosure or bulkhead using a standard hexagonal locknut. To secure the relevant certifications the component is manufactured from a material which does not ignite under filament effect at 850 degrees C (with a wall thickness of 0.5mm) and has a proven smoke gas index of I.F. ≤ 40.
The cable gland has been designed with the needs of the rail industry in mind. Due to safety regulations, all electrical components used for applications within the industry must offer a high degree of fire resistance to help slow the spread of fire and noxious gasses in the event of an emergency. Using a specialised flame proof polyamide (PA6) with a fire class V0 according to UL94, the cable gland has been certified in accordance with the internationally recognised NF F 16-101 standard; it’s also approved to UL514B for applications in the USA and Canada.
The cable glands are available with Metric and PG thread in either grey or black and can accommodate a wide range of cable diameters. For more information about this product, or advice on the ideal cable entry solution for your application contact a member of Hylec-APL’s dedicated sales team.