Product and solution safety and reliability

Ansaldo STS implements RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) activities to ensure that it develops and delivers products, applications and systems that are safe, in compliance with Italian and international laws applicable to railway systems, reliable and in line with its customers’ needs and its internal quality standards. These activities are performed on all Ansaldo STS projects in which safety and reliability are relevant, which constitute over 90% of total business activities.

Safety and reliability are achieved through hazard analysis, a structured process in line with sector standards. It begins with the identification of hazards based on previous experience, the assessment of specifications for the various processes stages and hazard workshops during which experts from Ansaldo STS and from the customer discuss the various issues. Potential hazards are then included in a hazard log, which is constantly updated over the life cycle of the project. For each hazard mapped, the log also includes the mitigation measures, activities to check that they were effectively implemented and an assessment of the residual hazard. The residual hazard level is assessed and accepted only if it is below the limits established by standards and customer requirements.

The main safety standards are those issued by CENELEC - European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization. Specifically, relevant standards are:

  • CEI 50126 on RAMS applicable to the railway sector;
  • CEI 50128 on software security;
  • CEI 50129 on electronic device safety;
  • CEI 50159 on railway communications security.

Recording and assessment of non-conformities and accidents to improve safety

Any non-conformities with safety specifications during the development, testing and, obviously, roll-out, are carefully analysed and recorded. In general, no conduct of this type is tolerated and any instances of the same require a review and changes to the hardware or software of the element that does not meet the technical specifications required. In general, Ansaldo STS gathers two types of data to assess the reliability of its products: data on parts (fault charts), beginning with the assistance requests sent to the Service unit, and data on systems affecting the key service parameters (frequency of trains, skipped runs, delays, etc.). Data on parts is analysed to identify the most defective parts and alternative solutions are sought to improve performance, while for data on systems, all service interruptions are analysed to determine the causes.

Reliability of solutions

The reliability of solutions is also due to the use of redundant platforms that provide fault tolerant configurations, i.e. those that can continue to function even when certain sections present faults. This type of approach was successfully applied in Italian high-speed railways, where specific systems have been developed for the diagnostics and control of the electrical substations. These tools make it possible to plan “preventive maintenance” on lines, i.e. monitoring all substations and reporting when one of them is at risk of faults. In this way, greater environmental sustainability is ensured, with the resulting reduced consumption of spare parts and lower risk of service interruptions on the line due to faults.

Safer spaces for customers and end users

Ansaldo STS offers passengers safe and controlled spaces by equipping network vehicles with sensors that constantly monitor railway areas. The sensors operate around the clock.