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Featured Video - PMA - 19th July 2016

PMA Supports the Largest Rail Tunnel Project in the World - the Gotthard Base Tunnel

ABB technology makes history in the Swiss Alps

When PMA became part of ABB in 2012, we inherited a 120+ year history in leading not only Switzerland but the world’s technological progress - from efficient energy production, to sustainable mobility, and everything in between.

Consequently, we are proudly and irremovably linked to the entire history of Swiss rail traffic; a leading name in the field and a global leader in innovation and quality.

ABB PMA Cable Protection and our unique position in the rail industry
Steeped in history yet future-facing, PMA - as part of ABB - is in a unique position to support the world’s largest rail tunnel project to date; the world renowned Gotthard Base Tunnel, which has opened in Switzerland on the 1st June 2016.

The 1.7 billion Swiss franc contract is among the largest in this sector in the world, and is already making waves, giving some of the most respected brands in the rail industry, such as PMA, something to really sink our ‘teeth’ into!

Contacted on a consultancy basis, PMA were approached by the Transtec Gotthard Consortium for advice on the most flexible and easy-to-install, completely closed cable protection solutions to be used in the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Cable Protection for the most challenging conditions
457 kilometres in length, the Gotthard Base Tunnel has within it particularly challenging climatic conditions; so long with such deep tunnels, air temperatures reach highs of 40°C and over, whilst regular, medium-pressure wash-down procedures for cleaning the tunnel contribute hugely to the 70% relative humidity in the air.

Excellent fire safety characteristics are also essential for all products used for tunnel infrastructure applications and for rolling stock destined for prolonged use in the tunnel.

The majority of products available on the current market are ill-equipped for such extreme conditions and unable to meet the high safety and reliability requirements needed for this project; this is where PMA’s outstanding work came into play.

Wanting a complete, high specification, end-to-end cable protection system with excellent fire safety characteristics (flammability, smoke density and toxicity) and a high level of ingress protection (IP68 and IP69K) to withstand the medium-pressure cleaning process, PMA were asked to supply cable protection for the lighting system within the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

From control and monitoring systems to lighting and ventilation, building service facilities and water drainage, everything in this project is dependent upon a reliable power supply.

PMA’s extensive testing and the virtues of polyamide products
Supporting our customers with a holistic service, we first entered an extensive testing stage; keen to provide the Consortium with the most effective and efficient cable protection products available for such extreme conditions.

High-grade, specially formulated polyamide has excellent resistance to ultraviolet rays, weathering, and offers good impact strength. Polyamide products have outstanding fire safety characteristics in terms of low flammability, smoke/gas emission and toxicity in the event of a fire incident, which are especially important factors in this tunnel project.

Visiting our customers personally, armed with applications suitable for their requirements, the Consortium were able to get a hands-on feel for the products we were recommending; entering a detailed discussion about what they needed, and how we could support them to achieve it – followed by a sample delivery.

Knowing our polyamide products would be best suited to the Gotthard Base Tunnel, this meeting process successfully persuaded the Consortium of the virtues; then began the sampling for testing procedures.

Smaller installations under bridges and in tunnels were fitted with PMA products for testing. The outcome and results of this extensive testing were so convincing that PMA products were unanimously chosen for this world-renowned project of the century.

As a direct result of the good experiences with the test installation, PMA was asked to deliver 21 kilometres of VAML conduit along with over 21,000 BVNZ strain relief fittings and BFH-0 conduit fixation clamps for the lighting system in the 57–kilometre-long railway tunnel.

PMA Cable Protection: Satisfaction guaranteed
More than 10,000 tunnel emergency guidance lights and 450 emergency exit light systems were subsequently equipped with PMA Cable Protection solutions.

From the very beginning, the customer was very satisfied with the complete PMA package of professional advice, customer support, and broad product range.

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