Fire protection in rail vehicles according to EN 45545

Supply chain professionals from the electronics manufacturing industry compiled a guideline focused on the organisation of global added value chains.

EN 45545 is a pure material test standard, which has uniformly defined the fire protection requirements of all materials used in rail vehicles since April 2016 throughout Europe. Accordingly, all electrical components as well as their electrical insulation materials must meet the requirements.

In our guide, we describe in a systematic and chronological manner how the definition of the relevant test requirements for electrical insulation materials has to be made in accordance with EN 45545.

This requires the following steps:

• Determination of the application environment (operating and design class of the rail vehicles

• Determination of the hazard level HL1 or HL2 or HL3 according to the respective operating and design class

• Determination of the test requirements according to the respective hazard level of electrical insulation materials (R requirements)

• Determination of the test methods according to the respective R requirements for electrical insulation materials = fire behavior depending on the oxygen content, smoke development, toxic gases

• Application of grouping rules using a practical example. This rule describes the procedure for the determination of compensation possibilities for the use of insulation materials with low classification, ie products which do not partly or not at all meet the different requirement rates depending on the hazard level HL1 or HL2 or HL3.

The ZVEI working group closes its consideration with the recommendation to manufacturers and users, whenever possible, not to demand a flat-rate fulfillment of the requirements according to the highest hazard level (HL 3), since this is unnecessarily restricted in the material selection. In addition, the further expansion of the regulations such as REACH and RoHS allows that many of the effective flame retardants used today will no longer be available.

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