Connector solutions for the rail industry

Jon Lawson

The Swiss connector specialist Multi-Contact (MC) presented its connection solutions at the recent InnoTrans 2016 event in Berlin, Germany. MC presented a selection of connectors and tailored connection solutions, including systems that have been specially designed for the rail industry, such as the Modular Power Connector (MPC). Thanks to its simultaneously compact and modular design, the MPC series is ideal for a variety of rail applications, for example connections for intercar couplings, external connections for a range of subsystems (components, devices), and connections for electrical traction motors. The connector with nominal values of maximum 3,600V and up to 700A is available with the highest level IP69 protection and also with shielding. The MPC meets the requirements of fire safety standard EN 45545-2.

The CT-HE connector is an adaptable, versatile superstar from the CombiTac family. With power contacts and optional signal contacts, it is suitable for battery modules in slide-in systems with over 100,000 mating cycles, as well as for use in battery monitoring systems. Another area of application is connection solutions for drive motors, where compact power modules can be installed in a variety of housing types.

The CombiTac system allows for modules with signal, data bus, fibre optic, coaxial, and power contacts up to 300A or 5kV, as well as thermo-elements and compressed-air couplings, to be combined within a compact system. This versatility makes CombiTac an ideal system for testing applications, for example for on-board and passenger information systems. The new 10-Gbit CombiTac module for Ethernet communication complies with the requirements of CAT6A and the EN 45545-1 rail standard. As with all MC connectors, CombiTac is available pre-assembled or as fully tested modules from a single source.

MC fork plugs and flat contacts for high-current and busbar applications were another highlight. In collaboration with a manufacturer of traction converters, MC created an elegant solution for printed circuit board units. The fork plug was designed based on customer requirements, is lightweight, saves space in inverters, and can be used in temperatures ranging from –55°C to 125°C. Assemblies equipped with fork plugs can be changed quickly and reliably, without any special tools. The contacts are vibration-resistant and meet the strict requirements of the rail industry.

Reliable grounding systems such as the EGH electric grounding hinge, the world’s first switchgear cabinet hinge with a built-in ground connection, or customer-specific grounding solutions for rail vehicles are extremely important for rail technology.

All of the connection solutions being presented are based on MC’s proven Multilam technology. They offer low contact resistance with minimal power loss and low heat generation, as well as lasting vibration resistance, and all of this after hundreds of thousands of mating cycles.

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