December 2020

Rail safety specialists, Sheffield-based Zonegreen, have launched the new MK III control panel for their flagship depot protection system that uses the latest contactless technology.

The new road end control panel offers a fast, efficient way to operate the firm’s Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS), via an RFID interface.

DPPS provides physical protection for staff in rail depots through the use of powered derailers or signalling interfaces. The system allows staff to create safe zones in which to work and provides visual and audible warnings of vehicle movements.

Zonegreen’s new road end control panel has been more than five years in development and is the product of continuous research, coupled with customer feedback. The Mk III system offers a number of additional features, making it even easier to manage vehicle movements in and around maintenance depots safely.

Zonegreen’s RFID panel

DPPS remains the only depot protection system that has been independently certified to be EMC compliant (electromagnetic compatibility). The new road end control panel has also been assessed by Eurofins to meet European radio emissions and railway standards, ensuring its radio frequency range will not interfere with telecommunication or electrical devices. This is critical in a depot environment, where there are many complex pieces of equipment, including the trains themselves.

Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s technical director, said: “We are working continually to improve and innovate our safety system and the introduction of our new RFID interface is a perfect example of the gains being made. A lot of consideration has gone into the human factors involved in depot protection and this has enabled us to find ways to make DPPS easier to operate, actively avoiding human error, whilst still improving its performance.”

The latest version of DPPS is ‘software free’ to simplify configuration and modification, allowing additional roads to be added and its functionality expanded using the depot design drag and drop feature through the preprogramed control panel.