G3-PLC in Smart Railway Stations
G3-PLC is an open standard for Power Line Communication and provides a robust, secure and cost effective communication solution. Originally designed for smart metering in harsh grid conditions, G3-PLC is also used for monitoring and control of many applications around railway stations.
Power Line Communication technology allows the distribution of digital signals with information content over existing electricity grids, thus avoiding the use of dedicated wiring systems and costly investments. Previously, adjusting brightness and colour for lighting fixtures required the installation of dedicated signal lines separate from the power lines. G3-PLC makes it possible to transmit control signals over power lines, thereby reducing the amount of wiring needed and correspondingly lowering the associated costs and installation time.
RFI, the Italian national railway infrastructure manager, requires G3-PLC as the communication standard for monitoring and control of their railway applications. Currently G3-PLC is used for:
• Control of heating systems for switches
• Control of internal and external lighting in stations
• Control of security lighting
• Control & diagnostic of tunnel lighting
Panasonic and East Japan Railway Company jointly developed a new railway station platform lighting control system using G3-PLC. The system is currently deployed on the platforms at Takanawa Gateway Station in Tokyo.
The new lighting control system uses G3-PLC to control the brightness and colour of the station platform lighting fixtures to match lighting conditions impacted by the time of day and weather. G3-PLC technology already provided advantages such as high noise tolerance and the ability to easily implement long-distance ommunication. However, installing a system on station premises presented the additional challenge of operating accurately in a very demanding environment characterized by wireless signals and electromagnetic waves generated when trains start and stop, and noise emitted by a variety of electrical devices.