ABB unveils new medium-voltage high-speed direct current breaker DCBreak for railway applications

ABB has introduced the new high-speed bi-directional direct current (DC) circuit breaker DCBreak for rolling stock applications, covering 750 V systems. The new DCBreak takes approximately 40 percent less footprint than equivalent circuit breakers on the market and it is one of the lightest breakers in its category at 28 kilograms. Maintenance is required only every 200,000 operations.

With the DCBreak launch, ABB has strengthened its railway portfolio focusing on direct current (DC) traction applications primarily operating at 750 V. DCBreak for railway applications protects the vehicle against electrical failure by interrupting current flow after fault detection. It is also used for isolating power supply for maintenance.  With rated voltages of 900 V, a rated current of 1500 A, a breaking capacity of 30 kA and type tested according to the latest IEC 60077-3 and IEC 61373 standards, DCBreak meets the most important customer requirements. 

“The new DCBreak circuit breaker is the latest on-board DC circuit breaker designed for metro, tramway and light rail applications that maximizes performance but minimizes footprint, weight and maintenance needs," said Bruno Melles, managing director of ABB's Medium Voltage business. “We have a long history of providing innovative and energy-efficient technologies to the rail industry and we will continue innovating for the transportation sector, a key growth area in our Next Level strategy.”

DCBreak is intended to be implemented in both new vehicle builds as well as direct retrofits for circuit breakers in existing vehicles. The DCBreak is designed with a reduced footprint capable of simple plug-and-play replacement with the majority of circuit breakers available on the market currently.

Meeting the ever increasing requirements for eco-efficient solutions without reducing performance, the DCBreak range enables ABB to address a new market sector. The use of cadmium-free contacts allows the new product to be RoHS compliant while remaining on par with the lightest comparable circuit breakers on the market.

Furthermore, the DCBreak product range is designed with flexibility in mind. Its small size and weight mean it can be installed both in the undercarriage as well as the overhead. 

ABB has a range of power and automation products and solutions for the rail industry and a vast global installed base. Increasing concern for the environment, rapid urbanization, the need to move more people and freight faster and volatile fuel prices make rail a strategic sector for the company to focus on.

ABB has a long history of innovative thinking in the rail industry. In the 19th century, the founders of BBC (Brown Boveri & Cie, ABB’s predecessor), Charles Brown and Walter Boveri, saw a future in electrification, in turning away from the potentially toxic emissions of steam locomotives. Convinced by the added value of electrification, BBC itself successfully funded the electrification of the 20km railway line in the Simplon Tunnel, which runs under the Alps between Brig, Switzerland and Iselle, Italy. 

ABB’s range of medium-voltage products for railways includes the complete range of switchgear solutions and substation components specially designed and adapted to comply with railway technical specifications. ABB offers a comprehensive range of AC traction substations for both 16.7 Hz to 25 Hz and 50 Hz to 60 Hz applications comprising single-or two-phase feeder substations and switching posts, autotransformer stations and substation automation (local control and protection). The introduction of the DCBreak fortifies ABB’s superior offering for the rail segment and reinforces its position as the one-stop-shop for rail applications.

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