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November 16, 2011

Saft builds success in China’s railway sector with completion of million dollar battery contract for Hong Kong’s West Island Line

Saft has delivered locally manufactured onboard battery systems to CNR CRC to support vital control and safety functions on new 15 new trainsets currently under construction for Hong Kong’s new West Island metro line.

Saft, leader in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry, has completed a contract worth well over one million dollars (US) for CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. (CNR CRC) to supply the onboard battery systems that will ensure reliable, low-maintenance, backup power for 15 new trainsets under construction for the new West Island Line on the Hong Kong MTR metro system. The successful delivery of this latest contract further demonstrates Saft’s continued growth in China’s railway sector where it is already delivering major contracts for metro systems in Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.

CNR CRC, a major manufacturer of rolling stock for both China and global markets, is constructing 15 eight-car trainsets for the Hong Kong MTR West Island Line which is scheduled for completion in 2014. The new trains will run over a route length of approximately 3 km from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town, serving three new underground stations.

‘The successful completion of this order for the West Island Line trains confirms Safts’ strong emergence in the Chinese market as a key battery supplier for prestige railway projects,’ says Philippe Ulrich, Sales Director Asia. ‘Crucial to this success is our Zhuhai plant, established in 2006, that provides the high levels of service and support required by China’s rolling stock OEMs as well as enabling us to add significant levels of local added value to projects by incorporating locally sourced mechanical and electrotechnical components within our battery systems.’

Three onboard battery systems, based on Saft’s specialised SRM rechargeable nickel-based rail batteries, are being fitted to each West island Line trainset to provide up to 60 minutes of reliable backup power to support vital safety and control functions – such as braking, smoke detection, emergency lighting and door opening - in the event of an interruption to the main power supply. Two of the battery systems will comprise 76 SRM 375 cells, providing a nominal 90 V and 375 Ah capacity, while the third system will comprise 76 SRM 220 cells providing a nominal 220 Ah capacity.

SRM cells

A major advantage of the Saft SRM batteries for CNR CRC is that they will need no special attention between normal rolling stock maintenance examinations. Topping up with distilled water is only required at two-year intervals, and there is no need to change the electrolyte during the battery’s lifetime.

In addition, the SRM cell’s sintered/pbe design enables the batteries to be some 20 percent smaller and lighter than conventional batteries of similar performance. It is also extremely reliable, even when subjected to extreme temperatures and heavy vibration, does not suffer the ‘sudden death’ failure that can afflict lead-acid batteries, and can provide a long service life of up to 15 years.