MEN Mikro Elektronik has won the CNA Award for innovation for developing a computer platform for trains to meet increasing demands for connectivity and modularity in the rail industry.

In the spirit of ‘Mobility 4.0’, the virtualisation-enabled platform consolidates all data processing and communication on a train and in train-land communication. Advantages that were previously reserved for the office IT environment are now reliably working in railway applications.

Key information:

  • Award for Innovation for menRDC Railway Data Center
  • Virtualisation-enabled computer platform to consolidate all non-vital functions in a train
  • Family concept consisting of main server, storage system and network switch
  • Robust and railway compliant design according to EN 50155

Less effort and costs with virtualisation

The menRDC Railway Data Center is based on a family concept, which offers a robust and powerful platform for all non-vital functions in a train with complementary components. Thanks to the virtualization of hardware, menRDC combines many different functions such as passenger information, on-board internet, predictive maintenance, video surveillance, driver assistance or vehicle-to-land/vehicle-to-vehicle-communication within one system.

Due to the robust EN 50155-compliant design, menRDC is immediately usable in trains.

This open and modular approach comes with versatile benefits:

  • Acquisition costs for hardware are restricted to just one system, instead of the previous practice having many different systems for the respective application
  • Fewer cables, less weight and reduced space requirements result in less installation costs and energy consumption, and dramatically simplifies future maintenance
  • New, additional or modified application software does not require different or even additional hardware. Furthermore, virtualization allows for strict separation of more sensitive and less sensitive applications on the same system
  • Virtualisation also enables the configuration of applications that are running redundantly and the configuration of high availability systems can also be simplified, if required
  • The lifecycle management of an open system is limited to the exchange of individual PC components, without affecting the functionality of the overall system. Therefore, the life cycle of the application/s is practically unlimited
  • This independence from the supplier ultimately encourages migration from a purely investment-oriented business model to a modern, service-oriented business model

At the innovation awards ceremony, which was held on 14 July n the premises of MEN, Norbert Schäfer, executive chairman CAN eV, complimented the high economic and ecological potential of the innovative concept, which offers flexible usage.

Christian Vogel, second mayor of Nuremberg, emphasised the importance of cost-conscious and energy-reducing measures to increase the attractivity of the passenger rail transport, and ensure further competitiveness.

Manfred Schmitz and Bernd Härtlein, managing directors at MEN, proudly accepted the award and perceive menRDC, together with the safety-critical system family menTCS, as another milestone on the way to becoming the first-choice supplier for reliable embedded computers in the railway market.