Modular Power Connector MPC
Application: electrical connections between various applications of the drivetrain
The panoramic view of the Swiss Appenzell region is characterized by gentle hills, wide-open grasslands and mountain ranges at the foot of the Alps. A varied train ride takes you from the urban center into the countryside. The regional Appenzell Railway offers convenient schedules and new rolling stock for pleasant and efficient connections to long-distance transport. The new low-floor trains were produced by the innovative Swiss train manufacturer Stadler. For the first time, these narrow-gauge trains have been equipped with the proven MPC (modular power connector) from Stäubli Electrical Connectors for an easy-to-maintain electrical connection between the vehicle and the traction.
Stadler Rail AG, headquartered in the Swiss town of Bussnang, has more than 7,600 employees at more than 30 locations around the world, providing reliable, dependable multi-unit trains, light rail and locomotives customized to customer needs. More than 6,000 Stadler rail vehicles bring state-of-the-art technology to the rails worldwide, allowing millions of passengers to travel safely and comfortably, like those in Appenzell. The low-floor design of the new trains for the Appenzell Railway ensures that all passengers have barrier-free entry and exit, and the wide doors enable quick passenger changes to keep trains running to schedule. All the trains are air conditioned and offer a first-class carriage. Passenger comfort is important to Appenzell Railway, just as it is to Stadler with its rail vehicles. Making use of its innovation, passion and flexibility as well as its knowledge of the respective local conditions, Stadler puts the best possible vehicle on the rails for its customers. This is where the aspirations meet those of Stäubli Electrical Connectors.
Long-term expert support
The partnership began with a Stäubli solution for earthing blocks for high-performance Stadler double-decker interurban trains to meet the train builder’s safety requirements. Over the next few years this collaboration continued and grew. Stäubli Electrical Connectors was able to build trust and, together with the engineering team in Bussnang for gear, narrow-gauge and specialty vehicles, it evaluated best-in-class solutions for safe, fast and vibration-resistant power supply connectors for a variety of applications.
Following their discussions with Stäubli Electrical Connectors, Stadler decided the time had come to compare the existing screwed connections with the compact and space-saving MPCs between the car and the drivetrain on the bogies. In railway operations, maintenance must be completed as quickly as possible to minimize rolling stock downtime. Therefore, pluggable connections are ideal for efficient maintenance. Stäubli was able to prove that the MPC could meet the high expectation by means of targeted test procedures, which were tailored to the specific requirements of Stadler and the Appenzell Railway. Durability and low-loss energy transmission for high currents, maximum shock, impact and vibration resistance and highest robustness - even in extreme climatic conditions - are required for all components in railway technology. In addition, the MPC solution has excellent power transmission characteristics. The route and elevation profile of the track in Appenzell were also taken into account in the design and tests to ensure that the MPC could transmit the required power over the acceleration sections after the halts and that the tailor-made cable assemblies could withstand even tight curves and steep hills.
Proven quality with tailor-made tests
Pascal Duvoisin, Installation Planning Team Leader, and Heinz Hofer, Mechanical Engineering Project Manager, were convinced through expert advice, excellent supply availability and, above all, close collaboration during the installation and construction phases of the new connectors for Stadler in the Appenzell trains: “The electrical tests carried out specifically for the Appenzell Railway project prove the outstanding suitability under the required conditions. This ensures that we can offer our customers the safety and operational warranty they need. The MPC allows for speedy handling and contact reliability during maintenance periods, which brings the entire train back into operation and back on the rails faster,” concludes Pascal Duvoisin.
The increasing global demand for public transportation solutions in urban areas can be seen in Stadler Rail’s workshops. Modern, comfortable, safe and efficient rail vehicle technology is developed and customized here. In addition to the five new train compositions for the Appenzell Railway, further narrow-gauge trains in various designs are available for other customers in the assembly halls. Stäubli’s MPC solutions will also be integrated here to ensure a maintenance-friendly and secure traction interface.