EN 45545-3 specifies fire resistance requirements for fire protection in railway vehicles and for fire barriers fitted to railway vehicles, equipment and components. It also specifies the means by which such equipment should be tested for fire resistance. The standard has virtually universal support within the rail industry, not only in Europe but also worldwide. As a result, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) working in rail will now only use vehicles, equipment and parts with documented EN-45545 performance results.
As a market leader for railway locks and latches on covers & access panels, rooftop units, skirts and underfloor containers,
Southco has commissioned testing of its own products for years. Recently its E5 Cam, E3 VISE ACTION® Compression and R4 Rotary Latches, covering a range of applications and using a wide array of materials, were rigorously tested against the EN 45545-3 standard in an enclosed environment at the MPA Dresden certification centre in Germany. The classifications obtained describe the length of time, in minutes, for which each latch stayed closed in the face of a gradual increase in temperature from 20°C to 945°C. Each latch was placed on its own carrier plate and fired in accordance with DIN EN 1363-1 over a period of at least 10 minutes. The temperature on the test rig reached 678°C in 10 minutes, 842°C in 30 minutes and 945°C in 60 minutes.
In each case, the Southco products achieved superb results. Specifically, the E3 VISE ACTION® aluminium Compression Latch gained a 30 minute (E30) rating, while the same latch in stainless steel achieved 60 minutes (E60). Another stainless steel latch of the E5 product family, also attained E60, as did Southco's entire range of steel and stainless steel R4 Rotary Latches. In fact, some R4 Rotary Latches remained firmly closed beyond the 60 minutes of fire testing.
Ulrike Sturman, Industry Marketing Manager at Southco, is very pleased with this outcome: "The European standards provide the benchmark for the rail industry worldwide, and many of the world's leading rail OEMs are based in Europe. These tests provide peace of mind for specifiers and designers that our products cannot just meet but surpass the stringent standards required by the sector.”