The automation specialist

With more than 50 years of experience in electronics and programming for industry, Selectron is today a renowned specialist in the range of automation solutions for rail vehicles

Modern rail vehicle systems are created by a varied range of different pieces of equipment that need to talk to each other and work together in perfect harmony. These systems are linked by a train control management systems (TCMS) into a single, well-functioning platform which contributes to the safety and availability of trains. Meeting these needs, Selectron Systems AG offers safe and freely programmable controllers, centralised and decentralised I/O systems, driver’s cab displays, and communication components at vehicle or train bus level, and the company handles projects from subsystems all the way through to engineering turnkey solutions.

One of the most crucial developments in the history of Selectron was announced in January 2015 when it was acquired by Knorr-Bremse. Following the acquisition, Selectron Systems continued to offer its established, successful range of systems, products, and services in the marketplace as well as gaining the ability to continually strengthen and expand this range through further innovations. Through its integration into the Knorr-Bremse Group Selectron will be able to extend the available portfolio of services, thereby facilitating supplier management for vehicle manufacturers and operators. It will also bring significant savings to manufacturers when it comes to integrating various sub-systems in a train. The UCS (Unified Control System) offer will bring ‘plug & play’ possibilities for gathering doors, HVAC, brakes, convertors etc… within a train. In addition, this deal gave Selectron Systems AG the ability to utilise the worldwide Knorr-Bremse sales selectron-138-band service network and access to new customers. Customers of both Knorr-Bremse and Selectron stand to benefit in the original equipment, operators, and aftermarket sectors alike.

Focusing on what Selectron offers to the market, the company can provide solutions, products and services. In the solutions arena, its modern, forward-looking train control and management systems are enormously important in rail vehicles. The continuously rising volumes of data exchanged between the individual systems mean that greater bandwidths need to be provided in order to transfer data. In addition, safety is playing an ever more important role, where Selectron has been innovating in the last years. Other significant aspects in this regard are long-lasting serviceability and cost. In this area Selectron offers with Knorr-Bremse efficient solutions for preventive maintenance targeting a lower ‘down-time’ of the trains for the network operators. Selectron responds to these requirements with its versatile and flexible solutions.

On the product side the company manufactures software, hardware and relays. By using tools optimally aimed at the rail vehicle market customers can ensure that the ideal use of hardware components is possible. On the services side, Selectron concentrates its knowledge, ability and activities on clients’ requirements, thereby helping them to concentrate on their own business. The organisation can also draw on the experience it has gained since focusing on the railway vehicle market in 2001, and it has learned that customers not only need products but also solutions with true benefits. As a result it has integrated this requirement into an innovative performance system. The wide variety of the services on offer from Selectron enable the business to create an individual performance package for customers and to create advantages for them going forward.

Its various customer-oriented services mean it can offer optimum support in each project phase.

These can be divided into six main categories:

  • Specification
  • Engineering
  • Commissioning
  • Technical support
  • Customer training courses
  • Maintenance & after-sales services

Considering the breadth of its expertise in solutions, products and services, it is no surprise that Selectron has a client list of respected names in the rail market, and that this is constantly growing with new additions. A prime example is the important contract it recently won in Moscow, where the ‘Strela’ Monorail System as well as the Moscow metro will feature Selectron TCMS.

Currently, MORTON is building the first section of the planned Strela transport system in Moscow’s Krasnogorsk district. The overhead Strela system is providing the latest in modern technology in overhead monorail systems – by using a motor bogie with rubbertyred wheels placed the inside the tracks. This technical solution allows the system to operate with minimal noise generation, low sensitivity to weather conditions, and keeping well away from the traffic on the ground.

In the first Strela vehicle, the TCMS is based on Selectron’s module families MAS 83x and MAS 73x, as well as Smartio. These modules communicate with all subsystems via Ethernet and CANopen. Furthermore, the vehicle features touchscreen displays for the viewing of motion and diagnostic data.

It is clear from this contract that Selectron’s systems offer the most modern technology, and the creation of these state-of-the-art solutions is largely thanks to its dedication to investing in research and development – 20 per cent of sales are invested into this area, which amounts to ten million euros annually. The company also employs a high proportion of engineers and technicians on its staff – out of more than 130 employees; about 80 per cent are in these roles. It also prides itself on having an international workforce, as this enables easier communication with its clients on a global scale.

It is thanks to the combination of these approaches that Selectron is able to create solutions in line with the latest international standards and provide efficient support for its customers. It has created long-term partnerships with clients that are based on trust, reliability and expertise, and now as part of Knorr-Bremse the company aims to maintain the agility and efficiency of a small company while gaining also all the benefits of being part of a larger organisation.