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Innovative modular brake concepts for the integrated European high-speed railway system

Final Report Summary - MODBRAKE (Innovative modular brake concepts for the integrated European high-speed railway system)

The MODBRAKE research project, co-financed by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, with a total budget of EUR 4,9 million, contributed to one of the main objectives of the EU policy in railway transportation: the realisation of interoperability and standardisation for the brake system.

The braking system is one of the most important and complex subsystems of rail vehicles, in particular when it comes to safety. Today, the brake supply sector is characterised by a broad variety of different designs, and testing, validation and maintenance procedures vary considerably. To reduce this complexity - and therefore costs - MODBRAKE divided the brake system into individual modules, elaborating specifications for each of them. This serves the demand for a shorter design phase and better life cycle costs (LCC). MODBRAKE (2006-2009) has been set in addition to the proceeding Integrated Project MODTRAIN to consider brake systems for high speed trains.

Within nearly four years of joint work in an international team, MODBRAKE has developed specifications for reliable, affordable and interoperable brake systems of brake modules which will serve as input for the European standardisation bodies CEN and Cenelec. In order to avoid jeopardising competition, MODBRAKE afforded the standardisation of interchangeable brake modules, at least in terms of functions while the modules may be still specific to each manufacturer so as to enable technological progress. Therefore, common geometry, physical interfaces (TCMS, pneumatic, electrical and mechanical) and functions for the brake modules were needed.

The methodology followed can be described by the following steps:
- definition of safety concepts and management procedures;
- proposal of needed tests and verification procedures;
- analysis of possible modules of the brake system for standardisation;
- detailed elaboration of standards for sub-modules within the brake control and bogie equipment module;
- LCC analysis based on the LCC tool elaborated in MODTRAIN;
- analysis of the European regulation framework (TSI, EN, …);
- elaboration of FRS/SYRS and test specifications;
- construction of prototypes;
- implementation of validation tests.

The MODBRAKE modules that were developed were:
- brake control;
- air generation and treatment;
- bogie brake equipment.

The work has been organised in work packages (WPs) as follows:

WP 1: Project management

WP 2: Brake safety issues

WP 3: Analysis of specifications and elaboration of FRS/YRS for brake modules.
MODBRAKE focused its work on standardisation issues in order to harmonise the reference functional and system requirements for the main brake modules to be supplied and fitted to the next generation of high speed trains.
During the elaboration of these specifications the WP3 group considered and analysed the following additional European standards too:
- Technical specification for interoperability - Conventional rail (TSI CR)
- Technical specification for interoperability - High speed (TSI HS)
- Operator requirement specification (ORS)

WP 4: Brake systems modular solutions for interoperability.
WP4 focused on the one hand on a broad analysis of possible modules of the brake system which can be candidates for standardisation and on the other hand on a detailed elaboration of pre-standards for sub modules within the brake control module as well as in the bogie equipment module. The standardisation efforts focus mainly on the interfaces and functions of brake control modules to the system. The analysis of the requirements on the interfaces and functions leads to specifications, which can be directed as proposals to standardisation bodies to contribute to existing or to define new standards.
Within the area brake control, three architectures for multiple units have been defined with the aim to standardise the interfaces among the identified sub-modules. The following main architectures (all compliant to the TSI high speed requirements) have been taken into account by the MODBRAKE partners:
- indirect brake system based on UIC requirements;
- direct / indirect brake system UIC compatible;
- direct / indirect brake system.

WP 5: LCC analysis.
Within MODBRAKE, the LCC toolbox LifeCyCal previously developed in the MODTRAIN project has been converted into a specific LCC toolbox which can be used to analyse the LCC of brake systems for high speed passenger trains in the European Union. The main conclusion from the calculation was that modifications and modularisations of the brake system components should have the aim to reduce the maintenance needs of the brake system. This could lead to great cost reductions in the entire lifecycle. Even a slight or medium increase in the acquisition costs could be highly compensated by the cost reductions in the maintenance costs.

WP 6: Construction of prototypes and validation tests.
MODBRAKE produced, tested and evaluated brake modules in order to demonstrate how they work together and show the level of compatibility of the interfaces.

WP 7: Standardisation, exploitation and dissemination activities

WP 8: Technical management and coordination.

Deliverables and full results are available through the project's website, found at: http://www.modbrake.com .

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