If passengers are better distributed on the platforms and know where they can board per train class, boarding and alighting will be faster and safer. ProRail was looking for an information system to better monitor and control passenger flows and which could withstand 'railway conditions'. Together with a team of experts from Atsence, KITT Engineering, Ngage Media, SIDstudio and Strict, Scope Design developed a maintenance-friendly, modular, intelligent information system that hangs freely above the platforms, so that both train traffic and passengers are not affected by it.
A key question was the functional integration of sensors and actuators in the displays with the entry information. The idea is that broadcasting, evacuation, camera surveillance and other new functionalities can be realised in one intelligent infrastructure. With the combination of smoke detectors and cameras, for example, active evacuation information can be shown on the displays, depending on the location of a calamity. With beacons and WiFi three-point measurement, blind and partially sighted people can be accurately guided to the door location. With IP speakers , an audio message can be sent, with an accuracy of three metres, if, for example, someone is in the security zone and a train arrives.
To a maximum benefit to achieve production costs, economies of scale have been used, due to the mechanics of the IPB to design from a universal and modular 'one size fits all' approach. Hardware-wise this creates a generic solution for the basic functionality that is easy to expand with additional possibilities via Power over Ethernet. The system can be adjusted and adjusted remotely via software.
Scope concentrated on the industrial design of the prototype of the IPB. It was primarily important that the IPB can be maintained quickly and safely. The IPB has therefore been designed in such a way that it is accessible from outside the safety zone to prevent trains from running during management and maintenance.
Scope iteratively designed (partial) solutions for active functions of the IPB in accordance with specific design regulations. For example, it was shown that almost all sensors and actors on a platform could be integrated as functionality in the IPB. This eventually led to a total concept in which the IPB provides the data and energy infrastructure for a flexible set of actors and sensors. Actors are, for example, loudspeakers for broadcasting and evacuation and sensors are, for example, beacons for positioning, cameras, people counters and antennas for WiFi, 4G/5G, etc.
Scope focused on mechanical development, ergonomics and the overall aesthetic concept and ultimately delivered a drawing package and a functional prototype in which the various functionalities are integrated. FEM analysis, component choices, software analysis and infographics were realised by the team.
At an early stage, Scope has one segregation of duties designed for the different 'sides' of the IPB. On the track side is the blue lamp which indicates to the driver what the desired stop location of the train is, at the top the interface with the built environment for keeping birds and a cable tray. The displays are on the platform side and the sensors and speakers on the bottom. The whole is integrated into one prototype that demonstrates the feasibility of this modular system that is universally applicable and that can withstand 'railway conditions'.
An important part of the cost of a product in a 'railway environment' is determined by the management costs in the form of maintenance and cleaning. When maintenance on the through track (in the A zone) must also include the costs of blocking the track. Through smart design of the entire IPB system, Scope Design has ensured that maintenance can take place in the B zone, so that the timetable does not have to be interrupted.
Prevention is better than cleaning, that's why we integrated small power wires on top of the IPB to prevent contamination, because birds sit on top of the IPB. We use the same housing part, in which the power wires are incorporated, to cover a cable duct, so that the cables do not have to be hidden under the ground and are therefore easily accessible.
The entire underside of the IPB is reserved for sensor modules with a fixed grid of 1.5 meters. One sensor module has room for six sensors and one speaker set. As a result, sensors or actors can be spread over the platform in multiples of 1.5 meters, depending on the required functionality. The sensors are placed on carriages that slide into the sensor modules. The sensors have a fixed space envelope and a standardised mounting interface, allowing for flexible placement. The sensor side consists of an extruded aluminum profile in which sensors can be placed in fixed setup slides.
The 'backbone' supporting structure that forms the heart of the IPB is a steel one box profile with a length of 10 meters. At first, an aluminum extrusion seemed logical, given the long length and the constant profile of the cross-section. However, it soon became apparent hot-dip galvanized tube made of welded sheet steel, a more attractive alternative, due to the size of the profile and the desired corrosion resistance and the required amount of processing. An estimate of the technical feasibility in the field of tolerances, after welding and galvanizing, is determined with knowledge from the agricultural industry in which Scope is also active. Ultimately, this estimate was validated with a prototype of a 1: 1 hot-dip galvanized backbone. The advantage for the strength / stiffness, for the durability and for the design freedom in the cross-section, this was demonstrated.
The prototype of the IPB was used in the market call for a light version, which was eventually realised at Schiphol by nGage Media and KITT.