The European standard EN 45545 was introduced in 2013 with a transitional period until 2016 and raises the level of requirements to the previous national standards, which have now been withdrawn.
The standard affects manufacturers of rail vehicles in all different categories including high-speed trains, regional trains, city-trams, industrial rail transportation and truck maintenance vehicles. But what does this all mean for design engineers of rail vehicles?
1. What is the purpose of EN 45545?
The EN 45545 aims to protect passengers and staff against onboard fire incidents on railway vehicles. Part two of the European standard (EN 45545-2) defines tighter requirements for the fire behavior of materials and components including flooring, seats and cables on railway vehicles.
This part also specifies the test methods, test conditions and reaction to fire performance requirements. Concerning the burning behavior of hydraulic hose materials, the EN 45545-2 contains specific requirements for oxygen index, smoke density and smoke toxicity. Products are classified according to 26 requirement sets (R1-R26) depending on where the materials are used. Each requirement has a corresponding series of test performance criteria. The requirement sets defined for hose materials is R22 (inside the vehicle) and R23 (outside the vehicle) and as well three hazard levels (HL1, HL2, HL3). HL1 contains the lowest requirements and HL3 the highest. The classification depends on how many kilometers the rail vehicles are in a tunnel and whether they are automatic, two-stores or if sleepers are on board.
Several tests are used to measure how the product compares to the product requirement sets. EN 45545-4 contains normative references to the EN 50553, which is furthermore important for hose assemblies installed within hydraulic/pneumatic circuits essential for the running capability of the vehicle. Hose assemblies selected for such important applications must pass a flame test according to ISO15540 (min. 800 °C for at least 15 minutes).
2. How does it impact the design of rail vehicles?
New trains built from March 2016 onward must be in line with the new standard. It is no secret, that the rail rolling stock industry is among the world’s most demanding in terms of the pressures placed on components and systems used, particularly considering the extremes of vibration and temperature that are present in typical operating environments.
As we are now in the age of higher speed trains, longer tunnels and the need for greater survivability, the European Union was looking for an alternative either to the prior valid different national safety standards or to the classic hose assembly flame test in accordance with EN 15540 and all of this combined with the demand to ensure compliance with ever lower pollutant emission limits. Design engineers have to deal with a variety of pneumatic, hydraulic and further applications which require different hose characteristics and this means a range of different hose types and all of these hose products must be EN 45545 approved. These challenging requirements can be a burden for a design engineer.
3. How can a design engineer select the right rail components?
The first step is to determine which product requirements apply (R1-R26). Secondly, determine the fire hazard level (HL1-HL3) and finally, identify a suitable material that meets the above ratings and the technical requirements for the application. It is Ideal to select a partner and products that meet all requirements set and that have been tested and approved according to the EN 45545-2 requirements.
Working with a certified and well-experienced partner can ease the selection of the right components. Parker has developed a complete range of rail hoses (RH) for rail applications from low to high pressure and was the first hose European manufacturer to develop a new rubber compound to meet the required standards of EN 45545 in terms of fire retardancy, smoke behavior and toxicity. On top of that, the Parker RH hose range delivers additional advantages such as a better bend radius to support easier design and routing and assembly cost savings. All hoses can be supplied for many rolling stock applications:
- Hydraulics (brake system, hydrostatic): 441RH, 477RH 421RH, 477RH, 372RH, 797RH
- Pneumatics (brake system, suspension, auxiliary systems): 801RH, 681DB, 421RH, 441RH
- Cooling systems (water cooling, air conditioning): 801RH, 681DB, 441RH, 421RH, 441RH
- Fluid Conveying (diesel fuel, water for sanitary facilities and heating (water): 801RH, 681DB, 421RH
International companies with substantial expertise, such as Parker, have a global presence for the leading players of the rail industry and can offer the right hose for each rail application and on top, you can choose the way of product supply which best answers your individual manufacturing philosophy. The delivery options include complete hose assemblies, hose/tube assemblies, single hoses and fittings and hose crimpers and tooling for the Parkrimp No-Skive self-assembling.
The Parker Rail Hose range focuses on the safety of people and property and for many years has been supporting all relevant applications within different types of railway trains and vehicles. A comprehensive cheat sheet that details all you need to know about a successful rail hose selection has been developed.
This blog was contributed to by Conny Stöhr, marketing services manager, Hose Products Division Europe.