[Case Study] MISUMI Keeps Light Rail on Track with Custom Communication Cable Upgrades

Background

A public transit agency that serves the metropolitan Pacific Northwest. It operates several rapid transit systems that include light rail, commuter rail, and express bus lines that serve a total of 47 million riders a year and an average of 157,000 passengers on any given weekday.  After launching more than a decade ago, the light rail system grew to become the largest part of the operations in terms of ridership.

Challenge

NFPA 130 specifies fire protection and life safety requirements for passenger rail systems.  As part of a nationwide initiative, the Pacific Northwest transit authority was ordered by the local fire marshal to upgrade existing light rail cars to meet NFPA 130 standards. The agency was tasked with updating the communication cabling, which is used to transmit essential data between rail cars.  

Selected cables would need to operate in extreme weather conditions and adhere to published flammability ratings. Any cordset chosen must use this type of cable and integrate into the existing network using a 4-pin M12 connector on one end and an RJ45 connector on the other.

Cables and connectors that meet NFPA 130 standards are readily available.  The problem was that a combination of the two, as a cordset, was not available off-the-shelf.  The only solution was a custom cordset and the challenge became finding a partner who could produce these quickly.

Solution

MISUMI is a well-known manufacturer and distributor of custom automation components.  This includes a wide variety of standard and custom communication cordsets.  The transit agency came across a MISUMI advertisement promoting LAN cordsets and reached out directly for help.

MISUMI was able to quickly source Halogen-free, RADOX RAILCAT EM 104 foam insulated cable and began production of the custom cordsets.  The cable was cut to specific lengths, M12 connectors were overmolded on one end and industrial-grade RJ45 connectors were installed on the other.  These special connectors ensure environmental resistance and enhance the life of the cordset.

Results

Less than 8 weeks passed from the start of the project to final delivery of the custom cordsets – in time, on budget, and to the new specifications.

MISUMI accomplished this by quickly understanding the project needs, engaging with a strong network of suppliers to source the proper material, and working with select manufacturers to ensure a high-quality product was made.

The transit agency was able to update its light rail fleet to meet the stringent new NFPA 130 standards and ensure the safety of its passengers.

Summary

Challenge

  • Sourcing a combination of cable and connector that meeting NFPA 130 standards as a cordset.

Solution 

  • NFPA 130 standard RJ45 to M12 custom cordset sourced by MISUMI

NFPA 130 Standard Cordset Product Benefits  

  • Cat 5e Ethernet-based communication cordset, which is a cable with an assembled connector
  • Made of halogen-free electron-beam cross-linked wires with a tin-plated copper braided shield
  • Insulated and sheathed using RADOX RAILCAT EM 104 foam material
  • Meets UL 1685 and FT4 standards
  • M-rated hazard level for extra low temperature, extra oil, and extra fuel resistance

How MISUMI Provided Value  

  • Direct access to custom manufacturing
  • High-quality products
  • Fast manufacturing
  • Short delivery time

Contact the MISUMI Electrical Team for any customer requests you may have at electrical@misumiusa.com.

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