Alicja Strzemieczna, Regional Sales Manager CEE Industrial IoT Advantech

Intelligent computing and networking solutions for end-to-end railway visualisation

BtoB Rail caught up with Alicja Strzemieczna
Regional Sales Manager CEE Industrial IoT Advantech

Advantech, in partnership with railway operators and integrators worldwide, has dedicated resources to design and develop new products for reliable and cost-effective railway systems. These products support rolling stock, automatic train supervision, signalling, backbone networks and more. The company’s mission is to enable intelligent railway systems, a goal which simultaneously helps fulfil the Advantech vision of creating and delivering smart technologies.

Rolling stock, for example, is a major area of application when it comes to railway intelligence, embracing smart systems for passenger information, passenger infotainment, in-train surveillance and vehicle monitoring.

Passenger information systems (PIS) make use of different panel types and must function clearly in various lighting environments. Effective redundancy is also necessary to ensure reliable and uninterrupted operation. Advantech is a popular choice in these applications thanks to solutions like its ITA-5831 on-board modular PIDS controller and ARS-P2800 28” fan-less display panel PC.

Among recent takers is Australia's New South Wales Railway (NSW TrainLink), where two ITA-5831s now support the PIS in each train. The system connects to the strip displays and adopts a dual-host automatic back-up mechanism. When one host fails, the system automatically enables the back-up host, thereby ensuring continuous information display.

The infotainment era

Passenger infotainment systems also take advantage of this technology. Here, Advantech collaborates with proven partners, delivering rugged-design Wi-Fi connectivity and interactive multimedia solution-ready packages. Advantech’s enterprise-wide strategy of co-creation provides both a platform and an ecosystem that facilitates the convergence of the expertise and technologies needed to enable fully functioning, end-to-end rail sector solutions.

Advantech's fan-less system and managed Ethernet switches are capable of processing large amounts of data for on-board infotainment and providing high-speed wireless network services. This high-performance solution ensures the smooth transmission of images, sound, data and control commands, as the Polish intercity railway can testify.

Advantech provided the Polish intercity railway with two products to meet the multimedia services needs of the project: a fan-less ITA-5831 and an EKI-9516 managed Ethernet switch. The ITA-5831 – an on-board infotainment system and wireless network module embedded in each carriage – delivers multimedia content and offers a Wi-Fi app for internet access through a connected EKI-9516. When the train returns to the depot, it is possible to download all data to the control centre for statistical analysis, enabling the operator to discover new services or marketing solutions suitable for passengers.

Another key rolling stock application is in-train surveillance, which entails the use of systems that record both driver and passenger areas at the same time in high resolution. Advantech’s ITA-5231S on-board storage controller is for CCTV applications that need to meet high-capacity storage requirements, facilitating 24-hour full-HD camera video recording.

Vehicle monitoring systems (VMS) can also benefit from Advantech technology in their mission to collect status and failure data from vehicle sub-systems and components, and display information. Advantech provides the ITA-8100 driver-machine interface and ITA-5512 compact controller to create a reliable VMS, facilitating the transmission of control commands to optimise driver performance.

Automatic supervision

Beyond rolling stock, automatic supervision is another segment of the rail sector that can gain hugely from greater intelligence, particularly regarding solutions for automated fare collection, in-station incident detection and centralised traffic control.

The requirements of automated fare collection (AFC) systems include a rugged and reliable computer platform for accurately processing ticketing information and transmitting the data to clearing systems and back-end servers. Such a solution also needs multiple I/O interfaces to meet the diverse demands of different rail transport systems.

Advantech has developed a dedicated controller for AFC solutions, ITA-1711. Designed for gate applications, all ports are all on the same side and in a separate area, while the areas for USB or COM ports make installation and maintenance convenient for technicians.

In addition to hardware, Advantech can offer WISE-DeviceOn to enable remote monitoring and equipment management. For example, there are more than 100 AFC machines in stations of the Shanghai Metro in China. During peak hours, all ticket-vending machines activate quickly to handle a large number of passengers, while during off-peak hours, managers can switch some machines to energy-saving mode. Furthermore, if equipment fails, managers can remotely see which parts are faulty, and determine whether to despatch a maintenance technician. WISE-DeviceON therefore not only saves system development time but also helps to upgrade management processes and reduce operating costs.

Remaining in the station environment, incident detection systems are increasingly leveraging the advantages of artificial intelligence (AI). AI-trained models can easily detect and track passengers, with most false alarms caused by non-human artefacts and objects distinguished and eliminated from the data. Advantech provides a full range of products, from AI servers to Edge-based AI end-to-end solutions, for reliable AI video monitoring, such as NVQual-certified SKY-6400 4U rackmount servers and the MIC-7700 compact fan-less system.

A further area of automatic supervision is centralised traffic control (CTC). Here, Advantech is enjoying success with its CTC controller, a PC-based system with blade-type design that is easy to scale up for different wayside equipment connection.

“Rolling stock, is a major area of application when it comes to railway intelligence, embracing smart systems for passenger information, passenger infotainment, in-train surveillance and vehicle monitoring.”

No mixed signals

Developers and users of railway signalling equipment are demanding ever-greater levels of system intelligence. For example, consider interlocking systems, which implement train operation/safety commands at stations and depots. Today, more of these systems take their control from stable, integrated computers. With the development of Advantech’s robust ITA-2231 wayside platform, interlocking systems enjoy more precise control and monitoring than ever before.

The soon-to-be-completed metro system in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is among those taking advantage. Advantech has supported the contractor in the construction of a railway signalling solution with a variety of products, including a dedicated track computer platform (ITA-2231) for the interlocking system.

Signalling applications also embrace train and infrastructure inspection systems. Here, Advantech provides a rolling stock controller to implement pantograph inspection, wheel inspection and track obstacle inspection with accurate geographic location. Notable products for this application include the ARS-2620 vision inspection controller.

Ultimately, successful intelligent computing and networking solutions for railway applications rely on the quality of the selected hardware. Advantech solutions are subject to strict quality control testing for performance, size, operating temperature, vibration, shock and dust resistance, enabling effective and reliable operation.

Engendering a spirit of "serving the entire value chain" with its integrated hardware and software solutions, Advantech has built a reputation for considering the needs of all rail stakeholders, from system integrators and train operators, through to the passengers themselves. And that helps keep the planet moving.

Backbone network systems

To meet the demands of the backbone network system, Advantech's total network solution for the rail market is composed of both wired and wireless connectivity. The system is specifically for various rail applications, such as rolling stock, trackside, station, transportation hub and control centres, providing a reliable network service through its rugged, high ECM duration hardware, not forgetting its software management and redundancy functionality for high communication quality.

Product solutions include managed Ethernet switches, trackside management switches, industrial 10G Ethernet switches for high traffic data exchange and two-wire long-reach Ethernet extenders. Moreover, on-board communications benefit from Advantech’s industrial serial device servers, while for Wi-Fi and cellular interconnectivity roaming, the company can provide a range of proven routers, access points, bridges and gateways.

Why Advantech?

Advantech is one of the world’s largest suppliers of advanced embedded computing technology, together with equally comprehensive technology in communication, sensing and cloud computing. Importantly, the company adds value by assisting with the integration of end-to-end system solutions with scalability and future-proofing at their heart.

In total, Advantech has 43 product divisions and more than 10,000 industrial-grade computing, communication and sensor interface platforms, together with associated configuration, management and application software, and supported by a global network of service centres. This comprehensive capability and capacity means that end users, equipment builders and system integrators within the rail sector can realise intelligent computing and networking solutions at greatly reduced risk, while simultaneously shortening the time to capture the rewards.

Alicja Strzemieczna

As a professional salesperson, Alicja Strzemieczna is focusing on the infrastructure sector leading European key account Sector development for Advantech. Within the company, the Infrastructure sector contains four main streams: transportation with rail, roads and ITS, Energy and environment, Connectivity and Smart City applications. Alicja joined Advantech in 2009 and has contributed to the CEE region growth and its development as one of the biggest region in Advantech Europe. Making the Advantech brand more recognizable and reliable as an industrial partner is something she has prioritised in her 12-year career with the company.

“We’re looking forward to talk with you about your needs.”

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