Technical implementation

The complex controls of the automatic current collector system consist of several connected control units. Data exchange is realized by CAN (Controller Area Network).

Information from all control units (slave modules) is collated and checked for plausibility in a central computer (master). This unit checks if all conditions for automatic connecting have been fulfilled. For example:

  • Is the vehicle on a route section with catenary?

          → master + slave-module 2 (GPS)

  • Is the overhead line clearly detected by the system and furthermore, is it reachable?

          → master + slave-module 3 (laser scanner)

  • Are there any obstacles in the pivoting range of the current collector?

          → master (ultrasonic sensors)

Not until all conditions have been fulfilled does the master give the enabling signal and the system is automatically wired.

→ slave-module 1L and slave-module 1R

For the microcontrollers a pre-emptive, multi-tasking real time operating system has been developed, which is universal on all developed devices.

The motion sequences of the current collector poles are realized by electro-pneumatic actuators, because compressed air is available on the vehicles.

Compared to conventional systems, the newly developed system is able to execute pivoting motions. This enables a wiring connection, even if the vehicle has a collateral offset to the overhead lines or if vehicle and catenary are not parallel to each other.

Additionally, the existing pneumatic cylinders for lifting motion have been replaced by low-friction cylinders.

During operation, the system is monitored by several sensors, making it able to react to, for example, a pressure loss or derailing caused by human error.