HIMA Group pioneers in Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Safety Controllers for the Railway Industry

HIMA is a leading independent provider of smart safety solutions for railway applications. The company’s rail safety controllers use modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, which are widely used in the process and factory automation industries.

HIMA’s COTS components ensure reliable and uninterrupted operation of safety-critical railway applications, including electronic interlockings, level crossings, sensor-monitored door systems, electronically controlled anti-slip systems, dead-man’s vigilance devices, remote control capabilities, and safe train movement.

Flexible COTS safety controllers for Railway Applications

HIMA’s safety controllers HIMax and HIMatrix are manufactured and sold in large volumes as standard components.

Featuring CENELEC SIL4 approval, open interfaces and a standard operating system, the systems can be flexibly deployed in the railway industry.

System integrators, rolling stock manufacturers and railway operators can also use HIMA’s COTS controllers to economically, easily and quickly implement their safety solutions for railway applications.

The vibration and shock-resistant HIMax and HIMatrix safety controllers are available for a range of operating temperatures, and fulfil the requirements of EN 61373 Category 1 Class B.

In accordance with CENELEC standards EN 50126, EN 50128 and EN 50129, both systems are certified by TÜV for deployment up to the highest safety level SIL 4.

Cost-effective, customisable Safety Controllers

Since HIMA COTS controllers use standard components, they are significantly cheaper than proprietary systems, while still meeting the railway industry’s safety standards.

The controllers’ standard operating system provides interfaces for all major communication protocols, including Ethernet TCP/UDP, RS486, RS422, RS232 and controller area networks (CAN).

Communication is based on user-created or industry protocols, including a safe ethernet protocol developed by HIMA in 1997.

HIMA controllers feature dedicated operating systems that are specifically developed for safety-oriented applications, but are based on industry-standard programming language that can be customised by users.

The systems only include all functions necessary for safety programmable logic controller (PLCs) so they are not vulnerable to typical attacks on IT systems.

Safety Controllers for preventing Cyber attacks

From the initial development stage, the operating systems of the HIMatrix and HIMax COTS controllers have been tested to evaluate their resistance to cyber attacks, eliminating the need for recurrent software updates.

Increasingly vital control processes are being implemented as cloud or internet-based solutions. With the rising degree of automation and increasing relocation of functions to the cloud, there is a growing risk of cyber attacks.

Effective security enhancement measures in this situation consist of restricted options for human access and setting up autonomous, self-contained security systems.

HIMA controllers have separate processors for system functions and communication to ensure high operational reliability, even in the event of a cyber attack on the communication processor. In addition, several physically separate networks can operate on a single communication processor module.

In addition, unused interfaces can be disabled individually to limit the safety controllers to only feature necessary communication functions.

About HIMA

Having installed more than 35,000 TÜV-certified safety systems worldwide, HIMA is a leading technology provider in the rail sector.

In the global rail industry, HIMA’s CENELEC-certified SIL4 safety controllers offer increased safety, security and profitability.

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