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Electro-hydraulic and Mechanical Point Machines

Introduction 

 

Point machine is a device installed in the ground in the area of the switch usually between the rails. Its purpose is to mechanically move the tongues of the switch into the desired position and to hold the tongues in the final position.


Point machine is installed in a strong steel box which is called ground box. The ground box protects the point machine against mechanical damage and enables its installation even at locations where road traffic needs to go over the switch. Ground boxes are not watertight and need to be connected to a drainage system in order to allow water falling into them flow out. Ground boxes can be used as drainage of the rails in the switch area as the water can freely flow from the rails through the ground box into the drainage system.


Ground box for a TSH point machine

Point machine itself is installed inside the ground box and is fixed by four strong screws to the ground box bottom. As all Elektroline point machines are watertight, water cannot get inside the point machine mechanism of electronic.

Exact type of ground box depends on type of the point machine used and type of the switch point where the point machine is installed. We customize the ground boxes according to specific customer requirements.

Point machine is connected to the tongues of the switch by means of setting rod and control rods.


Typical set of rods of a TSH point machine

Setting rod is present in all point machines and its purpose is to move the tongues in the desired position and to hold them in the final position. Force of the point machine is therefore transmitted on the switch tongues by the setting rod. The setting rod goes from one tongue through the point machine to the other tongue. Both tongues are therefore connected by the setting rod.

Control rods are present only in some types of point machines and their purpose is to verify proper position of the switch tongues independently. Two control rods are installed in the point machine, one for each tongue. Switch tongues are therefore not connected by means of the control rods.


Control rods inside a TSH point machine

Products overview

  TSH 106 LC TSH 106 NN TSH 109 LC TSM 070 B
Electro-hydraulic operation
Manual operation
Watertight casing
Watertight separation of electrical part (extra water protection)
Equipped with control rods
Equipped with locking mechanism
Equipped with position sensors
(6 independent sensors)
Equipped with position sensors
(2 independent sensors)
Humidity sensors
Trailable
SIL 3 (AK 6) compliant for split points
Recommended for merge points
Recommended for tram depots
Suitable for self-reversal switches
Standard warranty period 6 years 6 years 6 years 6 years
Height of the box (external) 200 mm 200 mm 200 mm 150 mm
Length of the box (external) 900 mm 900 mm 900 mm 501 mm
Width of the box (external) 570 mm 570 mm 570 mm 470 mm
Operating voltage of the hydraulic system 600-750 V DC
230 V AC
380 V AC
110 V AC (60 Hz)
600-750 V DC
230 V AC
380 V AC
110 V AC (60 Hz)
mechanical only mechanical only

included in basic option
not included
possible option

Characteristics of point machines

Electro-hydraulic operation
These point machines enable automatic movement based on electro-hydraulic system integrated within the point machine.


Electro-hydraulic system of point machine

Compared to the older principle of electro-magnetic system, the electro-hydraulic principle has many advantages:

 

Maximum current necessary for moving the switch is much lower with the electro-hydraulic system and it therefore saves money on necessary power supply systems.

 


Socket for manual operation

Manual operation
All Elektroline point machines are equipped with a socket for manual operation and can be therefore operated by hands when using manual operation bar.

We provide various types of customized sockets for manual operation.


Socket for manual operation

Watertight casing
Although the point machine mechanisms have been developed in a way that the point machines can work with water in the inner mechanical parts, it is obvious that longer lifetime of the point machines is achieved due to the fact that the Elektroline point machines are installed in watertight casing.


Watertight casing of Elektroline point machines

Watertight casing provides protection against:

 

Especially at locations where road traffic can go over the point machine, it is very important to protect its mechanism by a watertight casing as the road traffic could carry a lot of impurities into it.

 

Each produced point machine is tested on water tightness during factory test after production.

Watertight separation of electrical part (extra water protection)
As an extra protection against water, some point machines are equipped with a watertight partition that separates mechanical part of the point machine from the electrical and electro-hydraulic system in the point machine.


Watertight separation of electrical part

Even if the water leaked in the mechanical part of the point machine (it could happen for example by damaging a rubber sleeve covering entrance of a rod into the point machine), it will never get into the electrical part and the point machine can continue working even with water inside.

Equipped with control rods
Control rods increase safety of the point machine. They have two basic functions:


Control rods

 

Equipped with locking mechanism
Locking mechanism is very important for switch points where trams travel in the facing direction carrying passengers. It is therefore recommended for majority of electrically operated switches on the main line and also for some mechanical switches on the main line.

 


Locking mechanism inside a point machine

Locking mechanism ensures that the adjacent blade will remain in its final position every time even (and especially) at the moment when a tram is travelling through the switch.

Equipped with position sensors (6 independent sensors)
Position sensors give safe and reliable information about actual position of the blades of the switch point and about status of locking of the point machine mechanism. Presence of position sensors is necessary to safely detect position of the switch and to display this information to the tram driver on a signal lamp.


Position sensors

In the full configuration (6 independent sensors), the point machine gives three independent information for each direction (left/right) about the proper position of the blades and the locking mechanism being active. Information from the position sensors can be processed independently (when using Elektroline control system) and can be analyzed independently by using special Elektroline switch point management software (ProSys software).

For each direction (left/right), point machine therefore gives independent information about:

 

Equipped with position sensors (2 independent sensors)

 

For point machines not equipped with any locking mechanism, 2 independent position sensors are installed to detect position of the switch, one sensor for each direction (left/right). The sensors detect position of the switch directly on the setting rod.


Position sensors

For each direction (left/right), point machine therefore gives information about:

 

Equipped with humidity sensors
As additional equipment, the point machines can be equipped with two independent humidity sensors, one in each internal part of the point machine. The sensors send information to the control system in case water gets inside the point machine.

 

If combined with Elektroline switch point control system, alert SMS message can be immediately sent to predefined list of telephone numbers in case water gets inside the point machine including information about number of switch point, time of the alert, etc.

Trailable
By trailing, we mean a situation when a tram goes through the switch in the trailing direction (along the blades) from the side where the switch is not set and therefore moves the switch mechanism by force of its own wheels.


Trailing mechanism is integrated within the lock body

Point machines not equipped with any locking mechanism can be trailed without any limits and can be therefore installed at merge points without any additional control system that would prevent their forced trailing.

Even the point machines equipped with a locking mechanism can be trailed without causing any damage to the mechanism as they are equipped with a special trailing mechanism. After being trailed through, the point machine can immediately continue in operation without necessity to replace any parts.

However trailing these point machines is not recommended to be done regularly and it should be prevented by appropriate control system, the point machines have been designed in a way that even regular and long time trailing does not cause any damage to the system.

Operating voltage of the hydraulic system
Point machines can be adapted for various types of power supply according to customer requirements. Elektroline point machine can work with 600-750 V DC power supply which means that the power supply can be taken directly from the overhead contact line and no additional power supply is necessary.


Elektroline compact 600-750 V DC electromotor

As Elektroline switch point control system can also be supplied from the overhead contact line, Elektroline solution is perfect for remote locations where no 230V AC power supply is available.

If required, we can also adapt the point machines and control systems to be powered by 230V AC, 3x380V AC, 110V AC, or other, the only major modification is in using different type of electrical engine.

SIL 3 (AK 6) compliant for split points
Our point machines have been assessed by an independent German assessor and they can be used up to SIL 3 (AK 6) level of security which is the highest level of security used for tramway system operating in on-sight mode.


Point machine SIL3 assessment (according to EN 61508)

TSH 106 LC (SIL 3)

TSH 106 LC is the most sophisticated Elektroline point machine. It uses electro-hydraulic system for motorized movement of switch tongues and it has been fulfils the SIL 3 (AK 6) safety integrity level by an independent German assessor. It can be used for split points and for locations where tram travel in the facing direction carrying passengers.

The TSH 106 LC point machines are usually used for switch points where tram carrying passengers go in the facing direction and where automatic change of direction is required. It can be installed at various locations from very frequently used switch points in the city centers to higher speed switch points at suburbs.

By implementing a special trailing mechanism, regular trailing of the point machine is possible despite the fact that the point machine is equipped with a fixed locking mechanism and is assessed for SIL3 safety integrity level. This trailing mechanism enables safe movement of the point machine in case of forced trailing and enables that the system can immediately continue in operation without any safety risk or damage to the mechanisms after it has been trailed through.

The TSH 106 LC point machine offers best performance when installed together with Elektroline switch point control system TSC. Elektroline switch point control system TSC (also up to SIL3 safety integrity level) can monitor all information from the TSH point machine independently, store this information in a log file and provide remote real-time access to all data using special monitoring software Elektroline ProSys.

Highlights

 

 

TSH 106 NN


Point machine TSH 106 NN

The TSH 106 NN is modification of the TSH 106 LC dedicated to be used in tram depots or at locations where regular trailing of the point machine is required and where trams do not carry any passengers. It has same external dimensions as the TSH 106 LC point machine and can be therefore installed in the same ground box, its outer dimensions drawings are however different as this point machine does not have any control rods.

Main differences of the TSH 106 NN point machine compared to the TSH 106 LC point machine are:

 


TSH 106 NN does not have any control rods

 

Hydraulic system of the TSH 106 NN point machine is same as the hydraulic system of the TSH 106 LC point machine which simplifies training of maintenance staff and makes spare parts management easier.

TSH 109 LC (SIL 3)


Point machine TSH 109 LC (SIL 3)

The TSH 109 LC is modification of the TSH 106 LC for locations where no automatic operation of the switch point is required but SIL 3 safety integrity level is required. It is recommended for switch points used by passenger-carrying-trams in the facing directions at locations where change of direction occurs only rarely and most of the trams go in the same direction.


The electro-hydraulic part is missing in TSH 109 LC (SIL 3) version

The point machine has the same parts as the TSH 106 LC point machine, only the electro-hydraulic system is missing in the point machine. It therefore offers the same safety level as the TSH 106 LC point machine but it is not possible to move it electrically.

As the point machine is equipped with 6 independent position and locking sensors, it is possible to connect it to special Elektroline control system for mechanical point machines and to display its position and locking status on a point position indicator.

TSM 070 B

The TSM 070 B mechanical point machine is a state-of-art point machine for locations where no motorized operation of a switch point is required and where no passenger-carrying-trams travel in the facing direction.

Unlike most competitors’ products, the TSM 070 B is completely watertight and therefore requires less maintenance and offers longer lifetime. Especially at locations with road traffic over the switch point, at locations with frequent rain-fall or snow-fall, at locations close to the sea or at any other locations where humidity or impurities could get into the point machine mechanism is the water tightness of the complete point machine a big advantage.

The TSM 070 B point machine has two possible modes of operation: hand-operated mode and self-reversal mode.

In the hand-operated mode, the point machine can be used at merge points (where all trams go in the trailing direction) or at switch points where no passenger-carrying trams go in the facing direction. When tram goes in the facing direction and needs to change the switch position, it can be done manually by using the hand-operation mechanism. In the trailing direction, the switch is being moved by the force created by tram wheels; the point machine helps to finalize the movement and holds the switch tongues in the final position.

In the self-reversal mode, the point machine is permanently set into one direction (left or right) so that all trams traveling in the facing direction go the same way. When the point machine is trailed, it returns back auto-matically into the preset position just after passage of a tram bogie. The hand-operation mechanism remains active even in the self-reversal mode and the direction can be therefore changed manually in case any tram needs to go in the facing direction the way where the switch is not preset.

The point machine can be very easily readjusted from the hand-operated mode into the self-reversal mode and vise versa by a simple rotation of a guide block inside the point machine system which can be done within approx. 10 minutes directly on site without necessity to uninstall the point machine from the ground.

Installation height of the point machine (excluding any ground box) is only 136 mm. It can be therefore easily installed directly on sleepers without requiring any major civil works. Even when installed in a ground box, requirements for installation depth are not high and the point machine slim construction therefore saves a lot of money on civil works and track bed adjustments.

A pair of dampers is installed in each TSM 070 B point machine in order to damp vibrations from the point machine system. The dampers can be adjusted independently for each direction (left or right) in order to achieve best performance. Operation of the point machine is therefore very silent and smooth even during trailing in the self-reversal mode.

By using a special installation adaptor, the TSM 070 B point machine can be used as replacement for an electro-hydraulic point machine in case the electro-hydraulic point machine needs to be uninstalled.

When point position indicator is required to show switch position to tram drivers, the TSM 070 B point machine can be equipped with two independent position sensors monitoring position of the point machine setting rod.

Highlights

 

 

Significant Signaling References

Blackpool, United Kingdom, 2009 - 2011

point machines (electro-hydraulic and mechanical)
switch point control systems (SIL 3)
VETRA tram-to-wayside communication system
preference of trams at junctions(VETRA communication)
depot signaling system (VETRA communication)


Brussels, Belgium, 2007 - 2009

point machines (electro-hydraulic and mechanical)


Athens, Greece, 2007

point machines (electro-hydraulic and mechanical)
terminal station signaling system


Pilsen, Czech Republic, 1998 - 2010

point machines (electro-hydraulic)
switch point control systems (SIL3)
VETRA tram-to-wayside communication system
automatic switch point heating

Related files to download

Download:

TSH SIL3 assessment (EN)
Watertightness test
Dispatch note (EN)
Inspection certificate (EN)
Data record (EN)

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