UniTTEC Co.,Ltd. Boost the Future of Rail Transit
2017/03/22 2279 Size:

The rapid promotion of urbanization, the rapid growth of urban population and the rapid increase in the amount of motor vehicles result in more and more congested cities, and the travel pressure of people is also bigger and bigger. Therefore, the development of high-speed, smooth and safe rail transit has become the inevitable choice for many large and medium-sized cities.

In fact, since the beginning of the new century, the state has included the development of metro traffic in the National Economy "10th Five-year" Plan Development Outline, and regarded it as a key strategy to promote sustainable development of the national economy.

As a new mode of public transport, the metro is becoming more and more important in people's lives, and the metro signal system, known as the "Central Nervous", has always been the focus of attention. In the overall context of collision, integration and competition of domestic and foreign technologies, Zhejiang United Science & Technology Co., Ltd. focuses on innovation and struggles to become the industry leader in ten years.

Today, United S&T has 16 metro signal systems operating and to be put into operation in lines under construction and 20 AFC / ACC projects serving the owners and the citizens. Its signal system with independent intellectual property rights has been successively applied in 7 domestic and overseas projects involving nearly 1500 km of railways, more than 400 km of metro lines and nearly 50 km of tram lines after passing the third-party safety certification. As a result, United S&T has become the leader of technological products and services of signal system and automatic ticketing / checking system industry in the domestic rail transit field.

Installed an "Intelligent Brain" for Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway

At the end of last year, a piece of news on "African Railway Loaded with Zhejiang Brain" made United S&T become an Internet hit. The article mentioned that in October 2016, Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway connecting the capitals of Ethiopia and Djibouti opened. Zhejiang United Science & Technology Co., Ltd. installed an "Intelligent Brain" core control system - BiLOCK type computer interlock system for this modern railway.

Why so much focus on this project? In United S&T, the Vice President & Chief Engineer of the company, Ling Zhujun told the reporter that it was because of the first-class enterprise output standards. This is Africa's first cross-border electrified railway, and the whole line of it was built by Chinese enterprises according to Chinese standards. "In this sense, China's complete set of standard system had gone out."

"There are many lines from A to B, and our system needs to ensure that any lines on which run the train can achieve automatic control under the premise of safety", Ling Zhujun introduced to us that the core of the "Intelligent Brain" was the BiLOCK computer interlock system.

We have all seen the scene when a train draws into a station: the track ahead will be more bifurcated, and the train needs to "transfer track" to draw in the correct platform. This "track transfer action" was mainly done manually before, so there is "switchman" once said. And now, the "track transfer action" is completely done by the track automatically, and the core just lies in the powerful computing power of the background computer system.

In order to ensure train safety, this computing cannot have even the slightest error. The annunciators distributed at the tracks and platforms of Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway collect data ceaselessly in 24 hours; the system operates once every half a second, and each operation further includes five steps and tens of thousands of operands.

When the results of the operation all meet the conditions, the system will issue a command to automatically control the track transfer and guide the train to the correct heading direction until the train draws into the station safely.

"As long as there is a data anomaly, the system will judge it as 'potentially dangerous', and command the train to stop immediately." Ling Zhujun said, this is the core safety technology of the system called "Fault-Guided-to-Safety".

It was by virtue of this core technology had the BiLOCK type computer interlock system of United S&T passed the "Universal Product" and "Universal Application" SIL4-level international safety double certification. "Such an excellent safety platform is very rare in our previous safety assessment", commented COO of TÜV, an international famous safety certification company.

"In 2014, when we participated in the bidding for Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway, our system was the only computer interlock product in the country that had passed double certification, which was also the international highest standard", said Ling Zhujun.

Quietly Vie for the Throne in the World with Innovation

"United S&T is a very young company, it has been only ten years since we entered into the rail transit field, but we have made very impressive progresses every year." Senior Vice President of the company Wang Guoping said. Such confidence is not groundless. Over the years, United S&T have always been accumulating and then succeeded in ranking top three of the domestic rail transit, and vied for the throne in the world with its first-class technology.

United S&T grew out of the monocrystalline silicon manufacturing enterprise - Zhejiang University Semiconductor Factory in the early 1970s; in 2015, it was renamed as Zhejiang United Science & Technology Co., Ltd. Relying on the disciplinary advantages of Zhejiang University, energy conservation & environmental protection and rail transit become the two major businesses of United S&T.

After a decade of struggle, United S&T has gained innumerable great achievements in the rail transit industry.

United S&T started its independent research and development as early as in April 2008. In 2011, it developed the rail transit CBTC system prototype based on the safety computer with independent intellectual property rights. At the beginning of 2012, it completed the Lloyd's safety certification of six systems. Such results were excusive at that time in the country. 

All along, the pace of technological innovation of United S&T has never stopped. The rail transit CBTC system has been technologically leading and improved through uninterrupted development and in July 2015, all CBTC and its subsystems developed by United S&T had passed Germany TÜV safety certification, striding forward from the prototype to the market application.

On September 26, 2016, it won the bid for Chongqing Metro Line 4 for which United S&T provided independently researched BiTRACON type CBTC signal system. This system would be linked with the signal systems of Chongqing Rail Transit Loop Line, Line 5 and Line10, creating precedent connectivity in urban rail transit.

In addition, in Huai'an, Jiangsu, runs the tram with the highest passenger capacity in the country – the average daily passenger flow volume reaches 19,800 person-time, the highest daily passenger flow volume reaches 40,500 person-time, and the annual passenger flow volume in 2016 exceeded 5,500,000 person-time. The signal system project of this tram makes full use of the products of United S&T with independent intellectual property rights –from the level crossing subsystem to the depot interlock subsystem; from the turnout control subsystem to the ATS subsystem, are all innovative developed results of United S&T.

What will technological localization bring to Chinese rail industry? Ling Zhijun said that obviously it was the shortening of construction period and reduction of costs. "After the technology is localized, the personnel scheduling is much more flexible. But in the past, when the foreign technology applied encountered test, change, and maintenance problems, we have to ask the foreign team to come over, and it was very difficult to control the time."

From the perspective of strategic development, Wang Guoping said, "The rail transit industry is a high-tech industry, and the country hopes to have such strength to make technologies localized. In the past decade, China's rail transit had developed soon, and it will continue to accelerate the development in the future. The enhancing of innovation ability of United S&T not only supports the development of China's rail transit, but also lays the foundation for the company to go out in the future and share more cake." The successful opening of Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway on October 5, 2016 exactly marked the successful implementation of the going-out strategy of United S&T, and became the beginning of United S&T to participate in "One Belt One Road" construction.

Deeply Engage in Unmanned Driving, Create Intelligent and Efficient Metro

Perhaps many people do not have such a chance to take a ride on Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway and feel proud of Binjiang, but in fact, you have already intersected with United S&T in daily life.

At present, United S&T has successively undertaken rail transit signal system projects of Shenyang, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Xi'an, Zhengzhou, Tianjin, Wenzhou and other places and automatic ticketing / checking system (AFC) projects of Nanjing, Suzhou, Ningbo, Wuhan, Tianjin, Nanchang, Chengdu, etc.

The technologies of United S&T are also widely applied in its "Hometown" Hangzhou - the current operating Hangzhou Metro Line 1, 2 and 4 do apply the CBTC signal system of United S&T. The automatic ticketing / checking systems, etc. of these three metros are also manufactured by United S&T.

Technological innovation is the sustained impetus for enterprises of the High-tech District (Binjiang) to develop and move forward constantly. Wang Guoping said the next goal of United S&T is the current hottest "unmanned driving" concept.

On October 13 last year, Shenzhen BYD "Cloud Rail" project was completed and opened to traffic. It is a whole elevated line with a one-way run length of 9km. There are seven stations, a depot and a control center on the whole line and the design speed of this line is 80km / h.

United S&T provided the BiTRACON 800 unmanned signal system with complete independent intellectual property rights for the "Cloud Rail". This project was the first engineering application case of the UTO system with complete independent intellectual property rights, which indicated that United S&T ranked forefront in the country in the rail transit unmanned field, and United S&T rail transit signal system would develop to be more intelligent.

Wang Guoping told the reporter that the unmanned metro is divided into two modes. One is the automatic mode of operation that is unmanned but attended (DTO, that is, driverless train operation), and the other one is the fully automatic unmanned mode of operation (UTO). If the UTO is realized, excluding the interference of human factors, the train operation will be more accurate and efficient. From the point of view of technical reserves, it is expected that by 2018, United S&T will be equipped with mature technical capabilities. “‘Unmanned Driving’ is also one of the company's technological development directions, and we also look forward to the application of unmanned technology in Hangzhou metro.”

Boost development of China rail transit and carry on innovation in the future. United S&T will penetrate into other core electromechanical products of rail transit from the signal system and ticketing and checking field and apply the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, Internet, AI and other modern science and technologies to rail transit to bring more intelligent and efficient city life. 

Source: Silicon Valley in Hangzhou