Research and development

In the year 2009 as well Research and Development accounted for most of the success and growth of the Ansaldo STS Group in the world.

The most obvious results were the huge amounts of new orders, where the main players are the recent products developed in the railway sector and in particular the ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 for High-Speed railways and the innovative metro based on Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) technology, as well as the innovative products in Security and Risk Reduction.

Regarding ERTMS Level 2 products, the year 2009 witnessed to significant demonstrations of interoperability with systems supplied by third parties. In particular:

  • Installed on Thalys trains, the Ansaldo STS on-board system proved to be interoperable, through GSM-R radio communications, with the RBC (Radio Block Center) Wayside equipment supplied by Alstom on a line in Belgium and supplied by Thales on a line in the Netherlands.
  • As part of the contract acquired by Ansaldo STS for the ZhengXi line in China, so far the results of the tests run for the interoperability between the on-board equipment of Ansaldo STS and the RBC Wayside equipment supplied by Bombardier, and between the RBC Wayside equipment of Ansaldo STS and the on-board equipment supplied by Bombardier are positive.

The Security and Risk Reduction business segment was marked by the completion and installation of several innovative systems which helped to further extend the range of products in the traditional sectors of Signalling and Automation. This also helped supporting metro customers in simulations in the case of fire on a vehicle in transit and enormously helped the definition of the Ansaldo STS Group as a key player in Security and Risk Reduction.

In the segment of Security for transportation infrastructures, in particular with High-Speed railways, the most important aim of the systems supplied was to monitor and protect all those parts that are considered to be critical, such as stations, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, depots, power sub-stations, etc., against:

  • unauthorised access in protected areas;
  • thefts and acts of vandalism;
  • sabotage and terrorist attacks.
  • All this is achieved through the definition of a dedicated solution identified along these steps:
  • risk analysis;
  • designing of the centralised security management system and the sub-systems and field technology to measure and integrate the necessary sensors and devices.

In Risk reduction, the development of a new system named TCCS® (Train Conformity Check System) was completed. It is mostly used in High-Speed railways before tunnel entrances.

The primary goal of this system is to increase the train safety, ensuring the absence of certain technical problems on-board before the train enters the tunnel.

The control is made at first identifying the model of the incoming train and the, by means of a portal that the train passes through, any anomaly is recorded:

  • mechanical anomalies, such as silhouette change, projecting cargo or wheel anomalies;
  • thermal anomalies, indicating hot axle boxes.

In Risk Assessment, the year 2009 saw the success of the test for fire in a metro train in a tunnel, which was carried out at the Firemen’s training operational centre of Montelibretti (Rome).

The complex project started almost two years ago at the request of the management of Roma Metropolitane and of Ansaldo STS. The goal of the test was to prove the validity of the technology and systems chosen for the Project of Line C of Rome in terms of fire safety.

The liveability of the environment, the vehicle resistance, the efficiency of the alarms and the relevant counter-measures were measured “live” in the case of a fire on a train in a tunnel of Rome Line C.

A sensor network was built with thermocouples, wind-gauges, Pitot tubes, lux meters, opacimeters, gas analysers and strain gauges of more than four hundred sensors, some of which were customised. Thanks to this network, the fire was monitored in real time and millions of data were acquired.

The experiment was run on three different tests: natural ignition, backfire and arson, on three different days. Every small detail was attended to since it could not be repeated.

At 31 December 2009, research and development spending was EUR 41,112 thousand compared with EUR 44,512 thousand at 31 December 2008, a decrease of about 7.6%.

The activities undertaken by the Signalling Business Unit, totalling EUR 36,764 thousand or 92% of total spending, related to the following companies (figures in EUR 000):

  • Ansaldo STS : 11,663
  • Ansaldo STS France : 20,116
  • Ansaldo STS USA : 3,929
  • Other : 1,056

Spending by the Transportation Solutions Business Unit amounted to EUR 3,094 thousand, a decrease of EUR 200 thousand as compared with 31 December 2008.

Research & Development by Business Unit – 31 December 2009 - 2008 (EUR 000)

 

Ricerca & Sviluppo al 31 Dicembre 2009-2008