Tests begin on Crossrail ventilation system

Testing of Crossrail’s new tunnel ventilation control system (VCS) is under way at the West London offices of Applied Industrial Systems (AIS).

A dedicated VCS suite is being used by a team of software engineers, to test every operational mode that could be required once it is fully installed in the central tunnelled section of Crossrail, which will open in December 2018.

These modes include supporting air-conditioning or, in the event of a fire, to control the movement of smoke to allow passengers to safely escape.

Siemens and AIS secured the £4 million contract to supply a VCS for Crossrail in July 2016. The test system is a complete replica of the live site, although the actions of the 48 fans, 160 dampers and 500 actuators that control the airflow into and out of Crossrail’s 18 tunnel ventilation shafts are simulated.

According to AIS, while it is technically possible to test VCS without simulation, it would take much longer and be less accurate.

AIS Managing Director Simon Burras said: “The philosophy adopted for Crossrail testing has one simple aim - that by the time the system arrives on site for commissioning, no logic changes or software changes will be required. Using simulation, we can be as near to 100% confident of achieving this aim as possible.” 

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