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Today the vast majority of locomotives, trains including metros and tramways feature electric propulsion. This means the wheels are driven by electric motors independent whether the electricity is provided by overhead lines, a 3rd rail, batteries or even an on-board diesel engine.
The motors in turn are controlled by so called traction converters that supply an AC current with variable frequency to adjust the motor speed. The heart of such a traction converter is the power semiconductor that switches the motor current on- and off to generate the desired voltage and current shape for the motor. Originally gate turn-off thyristors (GTO) have been used for traction converters but new built converters are now mostly based on IGBT modules. As a market leader for both GTO and IGBT modules for traction converters ABB offers the latest generation of HiPak IGBT modules.

With the revolutionary LinPak IGBT module ABB provides a flexible and in current scalable solution especially suited for light rail vehicles (LRV), metro trains and (diesel-) electrical multiple unit train coaches (EMU/DMU).

Examples of traction applications benefitting from ABB’s IGBT modules and GTOs:
- High speed trains
- Electric and diesel-electric locomotives
- Region trains (EMU / DMU)
- Metro
- Light rail vehicles / tramways
- Coaches (auxiliary power for air conditioning and lighting)
- Commercial, construction and agricultural hybrid vehicles (CAHVs)

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