Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) member and specialist communications infrastructure provider, CHH CoNeX (CHH), has achieved preferred partner status with German company, Berthold Sichert, a market leader in the development and manufacture of polycarbonate cabinets and bases at a time when Network Rail has announced a spend of £10.1bn on enhancements to UK’s railways from 2019 to 2024.
Part of the enhancements to rail include updating over two thirds of the signalling network and providing new infrastructure for Big Data and communications. This will involve also looking at the use of new materials and technologies for both trackside services and rolling stock. This timely partnership signals a move away from the UK’s reliance on more traditional metal alternatives and is set to modernise the delivery of CHH’s network projects in road, rail and telecommunications.
Polycarbonate cabinets offer a host of benefits compared to their metal counterparts, giving CHH the ability to customise and configure cabinets to each individual customer’s requirements. The modular design of the cabinets means that individual units can be modified or upgraded in isolation, which also allows for internal equipment to be reconfigured and damaged parts replaced on site without any interruption to rail services. Polycarbonate cabinets are also lightweight, allowing for ease of installation as they do not require the concrete base needed for the heavier metal versions.
As a material, polycarbonate is as strong as metal, but unlike metal, will not weaken or corrode, and is flame resistant, giving the cabinets better durability and a longer product life. This is especially important in the rail environment, which is subject to heavy vibrations and corrosive brake dust. Polycarbonate has no effect on radio frequency (RF) signals, allowing 4G and 5G signals to pass through, unlike metal alternatives that block these frequencies. This means that polycarbonate cabinets can add value through a secondary use, for example, for housing sensors used for monitoring and data collection purposes.
Speaking about the new partnership, Tim Hughes, Managing Director at CHH, said: “Sichert has a reputation for quality in development and engineering. We’re really pleased that its polycarbonate cabinets will provide an innovative solution within our communications infrastructure networks. It’s important to us that CHH is recognised as being at the forefront of our industry, especially as we move to develop our presence within the rail market. Working with Sichert is a positive step forward towards us continuing to achieve this goal.”
The drive by CHH to expand its diversification into the rail sector draws upon the company’s expertise in the telecommunications and transport industry. CHH already has a number of existing rail customers and was recently awarded its first contract with a major transport mobility company for the supply of cabling in multiple variants for signal harnessing. Further reinforcing its commitment to a future within the rail sector, CHH is a proactive member of the Rail Forum and the newly-formed BCRRE (Birmingham Centre for Rail Research & Education) Rail Alliance partnership.
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