The Future of Transport Access Buttons

05 July 2017


The Future of Transport Access Buttons

TBM Rail established a formal partnership with Bavarian-based Captron Electronics in June, and we also had the pleasure of visiting the company’s stunning HQ located twenty minutes from Munich.

First, it must be emphasised what an incredible set-up exists at the modern facility that is reached easily from the fabulous Bavarian capital city. You pass through some stunning countryside on the approach, and Captron’s production area, test facilities and offices make for an impressive sight.  

So, what does Captron offer?

But enough of the exterior, we spent two days at the Captron manufacturing hub to learn about their hi-tech components that TBM Rail can now offer to the UK transport fleets – that means rail, bus and coach operators who are planning new stock or refurbishing older units.

In particular, we will be supplying the Captron range of capacitive sensors that make entry to passenger carriages easy – no contact required, just easy-opening of doors into and between carriages and compartments.

When you handle Captron’s sensors and take a close-up inspection, what stands out is quality and reliability. We were very impressed how much human input there is across the production facility. We expected more automation and robotics, but there’s a real hand-made feel to their products. And EVERY piece of equipment is tested. The devices not only look good, Captron test every single unit before they leave the factory.

That’s right, not a sample – ALL OF THEM.

Captron’s testing has shown that their capacitive sensor switches will last more than 100,000,000 operational cycles. REALLY! That’s some number, over one hundred million actions to trigger the opening of doors and the stop/start function of machines.

The sensors are set to detect human touch, or when the hand/finger is very close to the sensor surface, even when wet, but droplets of water that inadvertently splash onto the mechanisms will not set off the sensors.

These capacitive sensors are also perfect for train and bus toilet doors. Hygiene is an increasingly important factor in people’s lives, so being able to easily activate a button without having to touch it is a real bonus for travellers concerned about bacteria on shared surfaces and devices.

Some exciting capacitive sensor switches

There’s an impressive stable of sensors on offer, and over the coming months TBM Rail will be up and down the country showcasing some of the products to new and existing customers. Please get in touch if you’d like to see what’s on offer immediately!

The sensors come in a range of sizes to suit different operational functions and to accommodate the needs of many potential users. Some have larger operating surfaces, all are 100% oil and water proof, certified and created to last… and last some more! Over time, that means huge savings and almost zero maintenance.

The CHT3-series sensor offers audio and visual alerts, while the CHT4-series “beeps”, flashes LED lights and can accommodate braille on the surface of the sensor surround - meaning that ALL passengers will be aware of the sensor being activated, regardless of ability.

Moreover, because no mechanical pressure is required to activate the sensors, these are perfect for children, the elderly, or people with a disability. 

For fleet operators, the CHT5 and CHT9-series can be mounted with adhesive. Not having to drill means additional cost savings. Perfect for retro-fit. They are designed to switch through glass surfaces, and they are maintenance and wear-and-tear free.  

Captron sensors are TSI-PRM compliant

Meeting the latest standards and regulations is vital, and with TSI-PRM already secured this means Captron products can be fitted to any fleet NOW. By year 2020 all rolling stock will need to be fully compliant, so the products that TBM Rail are now offering are ahead of the game.

The products are already in use on UK railways. One of the smaller CHT1-series stop-start capacitive sensors has been trialled with a Siemens fleet for over twelve months, with no failures reported. The sensors have also been rolled out to a London Midland fleet.

During our two-day product awareness sessions, we also analysed level probes that will be a superb addition to toilet storage tanks, something we already specialise in. To assist fleet operators with tank capacity monitoring, this could prove very beneficial to ensure that train and bus toilets are never out of action because the fluid storage tank is full. 

Captron has expansion plans, so they are certainly set to become a major supplier to the bus and rail industries. We’re excited about the partnership and look forward to sharing our recent experiences in Bavaria and the outstanding Captron product range with rail and bus customers across the UK.

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