IFAB provides support and assistance with fire safety issues for all types of rail vehicles:
The employees have extensive experience in the creation and implementation of
gathered in numerous rail projects with more than 1000 rail vehicles. We apply these to meet the requirements of the rail sector. Our experience also includes infrastructure for rail vehicles (tunnels and metro stations). This knowledge ensures effective fire protection consulting and also includes the cost aspect.
IFAB uses recognised engineering methods to ensure that, for example, through
the effectiveness of fire fighting and fire alarm systems is proven. Using these or other methods, smoke extraction and evacuation concepts can also be proven for specific applications (e.g. in the engine room, in the passenger area or in the technical cabinets).
Due to the numerous experimental experiences gained through smoke and fire tests in the rail vehicle sector, IFAB is able to prepare conformity assessments or statements in order to demonstrate the transferability of proof of fire protection measures of one vehicle to another with a similar design. The aim is to avoid cost-intensive and experimental verification procedures. The transferability is in turn evaluated and checked by an expert.
During the development of rail vehicles, it is important to keep an eye on all relevant standards, norms, directives and regulations. Due to current changes in the relevant regulations and the diversity of these documents, there is always uncertainty about which fire protection measures must be observed and how they must be implemented in the vehicle. Clarification of this helps to comply with the regulations and to avoid surprises at the time of approval.
IFAB offers customers the decisive know-how advantage in the implementation of current regulations such as TSIs, EN 45545, NFPA 130, UNI 11565, ARGE guidelines and all other relevant fire protection regulations for rail vehicles.
IFAB's staff are experts in solving fire protection problems in rail vehicles. Outside of conceptual design, such as fire safety concepts or fire risk analyses, we support the creation, further development or maintenance of fire protection material databases and help with the use and evaluation of material evidence lists (e.g. FCIL - Fire Certificate Inventory List). IFAB can assist with the verification of certificates or enquiries with suppliers. This also applies to manufacturer declarations and conformity assessments.
IFAB prepares fire safety concepts for rail vehicles, which explain the handling and the basics of fire protection and contain measures for the realisation of fire protection. The overarching European regulation for rail vehicles TSI LOC&PAS can be applied, as well as EN 45545, EN 50553, nationally notified technical rules (NNTRs) or NFPA 130. Based on the type of rail vehicle and its area of application, it is determined which fire protection measures are most effective and cost-optimal and should be implemented in the relevant rail vehicle. Strategies for the creation of a customer-specific fire safety concepts for the protection of the specific rail vehicle type or its areas and components can be pursued in accordance with the standards. Measures can be e.g:
preventive fire protection measures
fire containment or fire spreading control measures
measures for fire elimination
IFAB provides support with all options and creates the correspondingly necessary concepts and requirements. Should a fire fire safety concept include requirements for e.g. automatic fire detection and fire extinguishing systems, IFAB as an accredited testing laboratory can provide the necessary evidence by means of smoke and fire tests and/or CFD simulations. IFAB has numerous experiences in the application of engineering methods as proof of effectiveness.
Furthermore, organisational aspects, evacuation issues, driveability analyses and risks are considered in a holistic fire safety concept. Our fire safety concepts pursue the goal of realising holistic solutions with the best possible technical implementation.
The starting point for effective safety concepts and fire safety concepts are fire risk studies. Fire risk is defined as the product of probability of occurrence and extent of damage to life, business operations or material goods. Fire risk analyses form the initial of an effective fire protection design. IFAB offers the preparation of fire risk analyses using recognised methods such as the semi-quantitative index method, the quantitative event tree analysis or the quantitative system reliability analysis. The risks, and above all the various consequences, are discussed and resolved in close cooperation with the client.
IFAB discusses evacuation scenarios for rolling stock on the basis of required reference values, e.g. according to TSI LOC&PAS, or coordinated with the overall safety concept. Either CFD simulations, calculations according to NFPA130 or manual calculations according to Predtetschenski and Milinski can be used.
Driveability concepts, options for continuing the journey in the event of a fire or eliminating the fire risk by other means, especially in the case of critical infrastructures and severe evacuation conditions, are essential components of fire safety concepts. The basis for the analyses and considerations are the methodologies according to EN 50553.
IFAB offers the creation of CFD simulations of design fire curves for rail vehicles. Alternatively, fire tests can be carried out instead of simulations, but these are associated with higher costs.
Detailed CFD models of the relevant train types are created. These are used to simulate specific fire scenarios beforehand in order to determine an exemplary heat release curve as a function of time for the respective train type.
For the CFD simulation, a discretisation of the train geometry in the form of cuboid cells is necessary. The models are created with a reasonable resolution, using provided construction drawings and findings from inspections.
In order to achieve high-quality results, the accurate implementation of the individual materials and their material parameters is of great importance. For this purpose, provided material samples from the interior or the car body are subjected to an analysis in the cone calorimeter in a material testing laboratory. The heat release and various parameters such as calorific value, ignition temperature and smoke yields are determined.
The position of the ignition initial is of great importance and influences the fire behaviour. For this reason, several ignition positions in the vehicle are first determined for which a different fire spread is to be expected. The ignition initial itself can, for example, be representative of a bag that has caught fire and is positioned in different places (for example, under a seat, in the car overpass, etc.). The plausibility of the fire spread can be assessed on the basis of flame spread, smoke development and temperature and pressure fields.
IFAB is an accredited testing laboratory in accordance with DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025:2018-03 for conducting fire tests as proof of the effectiveness of water-based firefighting systems. This includes the recording of the measured variables temperature, system pressure of the fire-fighting systems or extinguishing systems and gas concentrations (oxygen as well as fire gases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide). The real fire tests and the measurements are carried out in accordance with valid standards and guidelines such as the ARGE guideline or UNI 11565 for rail vehicles. Other measured variables (visibility, flow velocities of air and media, gas concentrations, humidity, etc.) required by the standards and norms are recorded using the mobile IFAB measuring technology. Heat release rates are determined in real time using recognised calculation methods. The following standards and guidelines have been used for standardised fire tests so far:
Rolling Stock - Guide recommended by fire safety experts
Title of the Directive
ARGE Guideline BBA - Part 2:2018*
Fire fighting in rail vehicles: Functional testing of the effectiveness of fire fighting systems in spaces accessible to persons, electrical control cabinets and areas of combustion engines.
Railway vehicles - Design, installation, validation and maintenance of fire detection and extinguishing systems on railway vehicles - General principles
Testing of the fire protection / extinguishing system
IFAB carries out smoke tests and fog tests for the above-mentioned applications for rail vehicles. For this purpose, IFAB has the necessary equipment with heat sources, fog generators and smoke generators.
This is used to provide evidence for the effectiveness of smoke extraction systems, to investigate the spread of smoke gases or to validate the positioning of smoke detectors in rail vehicles. The following standards and guidelines have been applied for smoke tests so far:
Name of the standard/directive
ARGE Guideline - Part 1: 2018
Fire fighting in rail vehicles: functional verification for the positioning of fire detectors in rooms accessible to persons, electrical control cabinets and areas with combustion engines
Fire alarm system (BMA)
DIN EN 54
Fire alarm systems
DIN EN 54 – Part 12
Linear detector based on the transmitted light principle
DIN EN 54 – Part 20
Aspirating smoke detector
DIN EN 54 – Part 22
Linear heat detectors
IFAB offers comprehensive support from a single source. Our employees handle the entire process - from the test conception - to the coordination and organisation with the test laboratories to the provision of customised measurement technology solutions and including data acquisition and data evaluation. Together with the customers and, if necessary, authorities and approval bodies, the required documentation and reports for fire tests and smoke tests are prepared. In addition to the accredited test procedures for large-scale fire tests, IFAB, as an independent test laboratory, also develops application-specific test procedures that are not standardised.
Applications can be, for example:
- Atriums and glass facades,
- theatre aisles and large ceiling heights,
- industrial plants with conveyor belts,
- coating plants,
- Compact archives,
- warehouses with plastics,
- deep fryers,
- high-voltage energy storage systems and
- Experimental investigations of design fire scenarios using real fire tests. For the above-mentioned applications, IFAB develops test concepts with the aid of the methods from DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025, which serve to demonstrate the
effectiveness of the following systems:
- Fire alarm systems,
- Fire-fighting systems and extinguishing systems,
- smoke extraction systems and heat extraction systems.
Special attention is paid to the development and dimensioning of the design fires and design fire scenarios. These must be designed in such a way that, on the one hand, they represent the application case, but on the other hand, they are also reproducible with sufficient accuracy. These requirements are ensured with the use of suitable surrogate fire loads, whose combustion characteristics are precisely known. The development of such test series is carried out in close consultation with the approval bodies (VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH, TÜV Nord, TÜV Süd or TÜV Rheinland, DEKRA, etc.) so that passing the evaluation criteria defined in the test concept leads to approval for the tested application.
Hot smoke tests in rail vehicles in accordance with ARGE Guideline Part 1 are a special feature. They serve to prove the correct positioning of smoke detectors. The aim is to test the detection time of the designed system. Furthermore, other objectives can be used, such as the localisation of the fire for zone activation of a onboard fire suppression system. Hot smoke tests are the practical and realistic implementation of the verification of smoke detection systems in rail vehicles. The tests are carried out in a non-destructive manner and are not dangerous for persons or the vehicle. IFAB's test equipment complies with the specifications of the ARGE guideline. The response time of the fire detection system is determined and evaluated on the basis of pass and fail criteria. During the tests, it is important to include any operating conditions. These can be, for example: air conditioning settings and opening of doors. Such conditions may influence smoke movements. Other detection methods, e.g. based on the criteria of temperature or flame, can be validated either experimentally or via computer simulations. However, these methods are not often used in people areas. IFAB can, however, demonstrate the effectiveness of such systems if required (e.g. in machinery spaces).