Retrofitting light diffusers at Finland's high-speed trains

Date: 20/09/2021

Topic: Building , Lighting , Transport , Electronics & Packing Tubes

Written by: Lichtenberg

A complete retrofit of LED light diffusers in the Finnish high-speed Pendolino trains required raw material knowledge and agile product development.

New PC profile extruded and pre-drilled by Primo in the front and original in the back New PC profile extruded and pre-drilled by Primo in the front and original in the back

The lighting sources and diffusers at Finland's high-speed trains had to be replaced almost after 20 years of daily use. The original diffuser profiles were produced by a 3rd party and from the materials of the day. They were worn and discolored by UV light. This means that the color temperature and efficiency didn't meet today's demands. Quality lighting and appropriate color temperature are important factor for customer experience. The replacement project started along more extensive modernization of the Pendolino eko-class wagons.

"Primo was able to meet the fire safety requirements, so that was the most important aspect when reviewing the suppliers.”

Certified material for the railway industry

The Finnish railway operator searched for a supplier that could produce new diffuser profiles to fit precisely in place of the originals. Primo was chosen in 2020, mainly because Primo has a long history of producing plastic profiles for the transport sector and because Primo's proposed material was able to meet the railway industry standard EN45545-2 HL3 R4 for plastic profiles.

"Primo was able to meet the fire safety requirements, so that was the most important aspect when reviewing the suppliers. Secondly, their material had high UV resistance and was designed for linear lighting applications," says Anssi Iso-Heiko, technical project manager at VR FleetCare Oy.

Excellent problem solving

A challenge realized during the prototype phase was that the original supplier’s drawings did not exactly reflect the actual dimensions.

"So, we had to do new measurement inside the wagons by printed 3D-prototypes. Also, the positions of holes for each item had to be verified on site. "This is one of these cases where you are happy to be able to print 3D-prototypes," says Jaakko Salo, Business Area Manager at Primo in Finland.

The dimensional challenges realized in the prototype phase were solved without additional costs and with minimum delay. Primo organized extra capacity in tooling so that the modifications could be made promptly.

Comprehensive delivery

The preprocessing of the profiles increased the project's complexity since the new and very accurate polycarbonate profiles had to fit precisely on the place in the wagons. Each profile was processed by drilling several holes with predefined positioning so that they were ready to assemble after delivery.

"Primo was responsible for the positioning of the pre-drilled holes. We haven't had any issues in the assembly of the diffusers which would have been caused due to dimensioning or positioning. Therefore, the assembly has been fast and effective, although there are several cut lengths and positioning of the pre-drilled holes. After the prototyping phase, the project has been executed according to the agreed time plan," says Anssi Iso-Heiko, technical project manager at VR FleetCare Oy.

 Reliable supplier for the public transportation industry

"We manufacture profiles made of high-quality raw materials that fulfill the standard for public transportation industry such as EN45545-2 HL3 R4 and ECE R 118. Secondly, we can deliver the profiles pre-processed and pack them even coach-based kits, so they are as easy as possible to assemble inside the vehicles, says Jaakko Salo, Business Area Manager at Primo in Finland.

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