Tougher than reality: System Test Center in Nuremberg

Innovation based on experience requires that experiences be gathered and integrated in development. Naturally, our customers require that locomotives be reliable under harsh everyday conditions. Reliable vehicles are crucial for achieving an optimal cost position and thus a competitive edge over alternative modes of transportation. The system test center in Nuremberg plays a vital role in ensuring the reliability of locomotives.

Reliability in the test bed

Reliable locomotives must have reliable components and subsystems. The system test center offers a complete range of tests, from individual component testing to tests of complete systems under a wide variety of conditions. The best way to reduce the risk for manufacturers and customers is to use a test bay to test and optimize the greatest integration of traction drive components and controls before the actual commissioning.

Testing of Vectron components

A system test serves to simulate basic conditions that are extremely difficult to produce in actual operation. Vectron’s components and systems have also been subjected successfully to various tests at the test center; for instance, the traction motors and converters have been tested, and the behavior of the input chopper has been proven in system tests under a wide range of conditions.

Comprehensive test options

At the Nuremberg site, Siemens maintains a 4,000 sq. m. system test center that offers comprehensive testing options for industrial and traction drive systems, including brakes, cooling, and other auxiliary systems. These testing options can include development tests as well as software optimizations and acceptance tests. A 32 sq. m. climatic test chamber is also available. The test center first opened its doors in January 2003.

Traction drive test bay

Key technical data for the rail systems test bay:

  • Max. 1.6 MW per motor

  • 4,200 rpm max. speed

  • 16,000 Nm max. torque

  • Voltage systems, controlled and regenerative

  • DC power supply: -4 kV to +4 kV

  • AC power supply: 14.2 kV to 31.5 kV at 50 Hz

  • AC power supply: 15 kV at 16.7 Hz

Simulation of extreme operating conditions

For new complete systems in particular, it is important that all components also be tested at the extreme limits of their normal operating conditions. In a test center, it’s relatively easy to test extreme operating situations and faults such as load steps, load shedding, shock loads and pantograph jumping, i.e. erratic changes in line voltage. Such conditions either occur only rarely in everyday service or are very difficult to reproduce for testing purposes.

Tests of normal operating states

This type of test center can be useful for testing normal operating states such as four-quadrant operation, resistive or line braking, and over- or undervoltage situations, because many mandatory tests require multiple hours of operation at defined operating points – tests that can be conveniently performed in a test bay. Simulating a defined duty cycle is also easy to do in the test bay.