Amantys and EMEF (Empresa de Manutenção de Equipamento Ferroviário, S.A), the leading operator in the Portuguese railway maintenance sector, have announced the deployment of Amantys Power Insight technology in a traction converter. The deployment is part of a live trial demonstrating an innovative solution developed by EMEF, leveraging the advantages of Amantys Power Insight condition monitoring. The EMEF drive module upgrades the converter from older Gate Turn Off Thyristors (GTOs) to Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) Modules, and uses Power Insight monitoring embedded within Amantys IGBT gate drivers.
Power Insight is the first commercially available monitoring system for IGBTs. By re-using the existing PWM and fault signals commonly used to control the firing of the IGBTs, Power Insight monitors the health of a train’s power electronics in real time and exports critical information to the train management system. Amantys has developed a solution to the problem of exporting data across the high voltage isolation barrier to the control domain.
Power Insight has been designed to be used in a wide variety of applications where communications across the isolation barrier presents a challenge, and in the future it can be used to transport data from a variety of sensors including measurements of vibration, shock and humidity.
EMEF has developed a modular power system for existing locomotives called Lusogate, using 4500 Volt, 1200 Amp rated IGBT Modules from power semiconductor manufacturer Dynex Semiconductor Limited, combined with advanced IGBT gate drivers from Amantys. This system replaces older GTOs in the traction inverter with the IGBT modules, realising significant energy savings and substantial maintenance cost reductions for the train operator.
With this upgrade the locomotive operator can extend its rolling stock track life, reduce operating costs and gain supply chain flexibility from a broader range of suppliers.
The addition of Power Insight to this upgrade delivers information from the heart of the power electronics to the train control system, allowing the effective prioritisation of maintenance reports, thereby optimising service schedules around the actual condition of the power electronics, and providing the capability to intercept potential system failures before they cause expensive breakdowns.
”The technology developed by EMEF gives train operators a much stronger range of options for revitalising their locomotive fleet,” said Miguel Areias, Head of Systems and Hardware at EMEF. “Amantys Power Insight brings a unique capability which allows us to extend our Condition-Based Maintenance Methodology into the heart of the traction converter to show early signs of failure. By deploying a needs-based maintenance plan, we can free operators from the burden of the onerous schedule-based maintenance plans recommended by locomotive manufacturers, and increase track-time availability of the locomotive by up to 15%.”
“In modern society the reliability of power electronics has a dramatic impact on everyday life. At Amantys our vision is that through combining high reliability power electronics subsystems with powerful microprocessor-based monitoring capabilities, we can bring substantial benefits for rolling stock users and operators alike. We are delighted to be working with the team at EMEF, who clearly share this vision,” said Karen Oddey, Amantys CEO. “We have been working closely with EMEF to deliver the benefits of Amantys Power Insight in a real traction system, and we are continuing this momentum into broader power electronics markets such as wind turbine converters, industrial drives and High Voltage DC power transmission.”