German companies to collaborate on 'Scharfenberg' coupler tech work

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An image of a Voith-made Scharfenberg coupler in a high-speed trainset. Voith and Siemens say they'll work together to build software tools that monitor the couplers which connect train frames, but also air brakes, electronics, and on-board electricity.
YORK, Pa. — Two German rail suppliers are cooperating on developing new tools to monitor automatic couplers typically used in passenger trains.

Scharfenberg coupler maker, Voith, and Siemens managers say they'll cooperate on performance monitoring for the coupler with Voith engineers developing the sensors and tools to monitor the coupler while Siemens will integrate the products into the company's propriety Railigent operating system for Internet of Things devices on railroads.

Executives with the companies signed the agreement in May. Once complete, the Voith's software will be offered as an application in Siemens' Railigent software universe.

Voith's software is expected to monitor the coupler’s deformation tube and damper, and will be able to lower inspection and maintenance costs. In addition, it reduces unplanned down-time and increases the level of passenger safety, according to a recent news release. The companies expect to debut the product at InnoTrans 2018 in Berlin.

Scharfenberg couplers are automatic couplers, which require two opposing, parallel pins to feed into and lock into opposing coupler pockets ensuring solid coupling, typically in passenger trains. The coupling connects a train's frames as well as air brakes, signal lines, and electric cables without crew handling.

More information is available online.

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