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Tech enhances tunnel safety

LIGHTING THE WAY The Handrail Security System and illuminated handrails will enhance tunnel safety

ENHANCING TUNNEL SAFETY Proxll project manager Håkon Einarsson said the remarkable success of the handrail system underscored the "unwavering dedication and exceptional performance demonstrated by all project stakeholders"

14th June 2024

     

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Manufacturing company and surface specialist SURTECO states that it ensures greater safety in Norway's tunnels, owing to the pre-eminence of safety as a priority in Scandinavian countries.

It is, therefore, understandable that one of the world’s first linear multifunctional LED escape systems for tunnels was implemented in a project in Norway.

The Handrail Security System is the result of a collaborative partnership led by engineering firm Proxll AS – a specialist in railway and switch heating systems with extensive experience in the Scandinavian railway sector.

Working alongside it are its contractor partner Caverion, the Norwegian government railway operator Bane NOR, and SURTECO Group SE’s subsidiary profile design and manufacturing company Döllken Profiles.

“The partnership between Proxll and Döllken began in 2014, leveraging Proxll’s reputable standing and expansive network in the Scandinavian market. Both Bane NOR, the customer, and engineering services company Caverion, the contractor, were immediately impressed by the functionality of the developed system. Consequently, it entered serial production in 2023 and was deployed within the past year,” says Döllken Profiles key account manager Jens Hartmann.

“This rapid implementation not only underscores the effectiveness of the prototype but also emphasises the significant demand and urgent need for innovative safety solutions in railway tunnels,” he adds.

“The remarkable success of the Handrail Security System underscores the unwavering dedication and exceptional performance demonstrated by all project stakeholders, coupled with their keen embrace of cutting-edge technologies for the betterment of society,” emphasised Proxll project manager Håkon Einarsson.

Döllken was efficient in addressing the client’s concerns and requests until the end of the process by contributing expertise, materials, manufacturing and supervision until the final development phase, adds Einarsson.

“Previously, we made substantial investments of [about] €1-million in developing our production infrastructure and material development. These significant steps have enabled Döllken Profiles to now globally produce our innovative product solution in series,” explains Döllken Profiles MD Martina Baden.

Ensuring Safer Tunnels

The latest EU regulations require handrails with lighting on escape routes. With Döllken Profiles’ Handrail System, tunnel operators can meet these requirements with a single integrated system.

Clear orientation in emergency situations is crucial for safety and can even be lifesaving in the event of an emergency.

Given longstanding guidelines and the rapid advancement of LED technology, new solution paths are emerging. Norway, a leader in the Human Development Index, aims to harness this potential. Advanced LED technology not only promises greater energy efficiency but also flexible lighting design and control. Its integration into tunnel emergency lighting systems can enhance safety, reduce costs, and alleviate environmental impact.

Moreover, it can be used in small and narrower tunnels to ensure effective lighting and orientation.

World’s First

Döllken Profiles, in collaboration with its development partners, has designed a handrail that ensures maximum orientation in emergencies and comprises two components.

In the lower section, there is a mounting bracket along with a robust, fully protected LED strip, illuminating the escape route. The upper part serves as the actual handrail.

A second and third LED strip ensure unambiguous orientation. The so-called ‘uplight’ shines towards the tunnel wall, while the ‘frontlight’ illuminates towards the tunnel center. All three options are used in the crossing sections, where the emergency exits are located. The Handrail Security System is the world’s first safety system for tunnels capable of accommodating three LED strips, the partners state.

 

Innovative LED Technology

The advancing LED technology not only offers increased energy efficiency but also enhanced flexibility in terms of lighting design and control. By incorporating these innovations into tunnel emergency lighting systems, not only can safety be improved, and energy costs reduced, but a reduction in environmental impact can be achieved.

Additionally, it allows quick installations and repairs, reducing downtime.

In the Norwegian Drammen Tunnel, a total of 14 000 m of the Handrail Security System was installed and will soon be handed over for use. The new Drammen Tunnel is part of the new double-track line from Drammen to Kobbervikdalen. It is almost 7 km long and consists of about 6 km of rock tunnels, 290 m of loose rock tunnels, and 540 m of concrete tunnels.

The development of the glass fibre-reinforced plastic profile was the responsibility of the engineers at Döllken Profiles and its sub- sidiary Döllken Lighting, which was responsible for the LED technology, and is one of the pioneers in the development of durable strips.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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