Great challenges: facing the complexity of our time.

From the point of view of an “old” engineer, speaking of complex systems means debating “systems of systems”, “hybrid systems”, “multimodal systems” and looking forward to hours at the desk in the midst of formulas and calculation systems.

To date, the traditional complexities have certainly not disappeared, on the contrary, but the “complexity has become more complex”, a new generation engineer must include digital revolution, climate, mobility, health, green energy, technological humanism in the complexity equation , cybersecurity and so on and so forth, the more you put.

In this challenge to complexity 4.0, however, we have new tools, others need to be invented, it is useless to continue to do the same things hoping for always different results.

No approach can be considered superfluous, every point of view is useful and necessary to look at and understand a multifaceted and multifaceted reality, with very high degrees of complexity.

Old style engineering must renew itself by combining different profiles, engineers, designers and figures from the world of human, economic and social sciences.

A working environment where flexibility becomes a necessity, since complex systems require few and simple rules, and the soft skills of the engineer take on an increasingly important role.

Smart working becomes an additional tool for approaching complexity, the change of work environment stimulates new ideas and therefore new solutions. Each of us has come up with the solution to a problem in the car, on the subway or while we were telling a bedtime story to our son.

In a nutshell, the “new” engineer must also be a designer, a social expert, a philosopher, a computer scientist … or more simply can help create an engineering in which all these skills are shared and where brainstorming is permanent.

A professional more capable of grasping the solicitations coming from society, more prepared to face the complex reality of our time.

And this is the approach to engineering that we believe is a winning one, which our customers can count on when they choose us as a partner for their great challenges.

See you next time,
Giovanni Salati

IntelliArm: Revolutionizing Cab Layout

IntelliArm: Revolutionizing Cab Layout 2048 1280 Spii
IntelliArm means Improved Cab Design and Environment Sustainability.

The revolution of the railway market passes above all through the cabin layout. Italy, the homeland of the Renaissance and of the famous way of thinking with its “Man in the center”, proposes a railway humanism to build an efficient working environment that surrounds the driver.

The cockpit is the meeting point between the end user and the car builder engineering who developed the design. Only by bringing the technological, style and ergonomics content to the top we can truly aim to revisit the cabin layout by introducing tangible advantages.

Volume and weight savings today are certainly the most popular elements in railway design. in an era in which the “Green ” and sustainability boost is becoming more and more concrete and current.

Acting on these parameters means moving towards a new design paradigm in which each accessory device often contained in the driver desk moves to much more accessible, maintainable areas. Topics we are going to cover in the next episodes of IntelliArm.

IntelliArm accompanies us to the discovery of a Driver Desk, in which the ratio between volume and technical content is extremely high, each I / O is optimally distributed, and each space is carefully designed to host a specific function. The result is a Driver Desk of unparalleled efficiency, in a perfect marriage between Engineering and environmental sustainability.

Volume and Weight

Although the innovations in the Railway field are often of a technological nature, going to act on individual components and processes, they are less inclined to evaluate the entire Control Package in its entirety.

Only a different approach can give birth to a product that is extremely aimed at reducing volume and weight, guaranteeing flexibility in the correct repositioning of all the devices in the cabin.

Volume: Defines the extension of a body, i.e. the space occupied by an object, in our case, the Driver Desk. It is expressed in m³.

Space Saving: IntelliArm Vs Regional Train Driver Desk

Decreasing the occupied volume and weight means drastically increasing the efficiency of the desk, a further objective of I / O interfaces, creating space in the cabin where to place what is currently sacrificed. Some examples are pneumatics and the personal effects of the Driver.

The innate compactness of IntelliArm also leads to the reduction of everything that is packaging, an increasingly important need for SPII’s commitment to sustainability.

Weight: Measured in Kg, it expresses the mass related to a specific object.

Weight: IntelliArm Vs Regional Train Driver Desk

A decrease in volume brings with it a consequent decrease in weight, a winning combo that allows the Car Builder to handle a concentrate of solutions that in optimal volume and weight, allows to reach the previous effectiveness in terms of operability.

In this case we can compare not only IntelliArm in the single configuration but also in its double essence, emphasizing that in both solutions compared to the desk of a regional train, the additional space created in the cabin is surprising.

Space Saving: IntelliArm Vs Regional Train Driver Desk

IntelliArm is thought to give you more with less. Reverse the traditional concept of Driver Desk without losing any of the classic advantages, indeed adding others. Thus creating space in the cabin for your personal belongings and preparing for an unprecedented experience. Design in the space for additional components and increase the maximum seating capacity.

Weight Saving: IntelliArm Vs Regional Train Driver Desk

It is incredible how reducing and limiting the overall dimensions consequently improves installation times. Consequently, it becomes possible to minimize installation personnel, tools and reduce the risks associated with installing the Driver Desk. Lightness means less energy expenditure for traction, IntelliArm is therefore the right choice for a Car Builder and an operator who want to be more sustainable than ever.

IntelliArm allows the Car Builder to completely redesign the cabin layout, bringing with it the only advantages that a simple, clean, light and less bulky installation can offer.

Driving innovation means being the spokesperson for all the aspects that both the Driver and the designer would like to improve, concentrating them at the center of the new railway humanism. The Control Package is at the center of the cabin, just as man is in the technological renaissance that IntelliArm is capable of underlining and bringing new life.

See you next time
Paolo Casoretti

Rail vehicles in good hands and feet

Rail vehicles in good hands and feet 1473 982 Spii

Footrests with DSD switches allow the driver to operate the driver safety device from an ergonomic seating position while keeping hands free. Additional functions, as horn activation and track sanding can be integrated. An optional heatable base plate provides additional comfort in winter.

Footrests and DSD switches can be found in railway vehicles all around the world, characterized by a high degree of safety over the many years of operation typical of railway vehicles.

Generally, footrests are customized product developments because of the need for adaptions required by each specific customer, based on the desk integration and country of operation.

The modular design and constructions of our robust, shock and vibration-proof footrests creates a large variation in the design of the final product, which will be customer-specific, reliable, rugged, low-maintenance and ergonomics, for even more safety.

Every footrest meets all the requirements of the rail vehicle manufacturers and of the railway’s standard, and are notable for their solid construction and high reliability.

The design of these devices follows the structural requirements of railways vehicles according to the standard EN 12663.  This standard specifies the loads vehicle equipment should be capable of sustaining and presents the principles to be used for design validation by analysis and testing, in order to guarantee the resistance of the object.

All the footrests are tested according to a comprehensive type test program and are compliant with the severe railways’ standards and the customer specifications.

One of the most severe tests to which the footrest is subjected is the shock and vibration test, according to standard EN 61373. This test specifies the requirements for testing equipment intended for use on railway vehicles which are subsequently subjected to vibrations and shock owing to the nature of railway operational environment. To demonstrate the quality of the product, it has to withstand tests that simulate the service conditions seen throughout its expected life.

Learn more by clicking here:

See you next time,
Stefano Milani

Industrial HMIs: why not nice and easy to use?

Industrial HMIs: why not nice and easy to use? 940 589 Spii

The future is clear: our world is becoming more and more automated and technology is permeating our lives the more the time passes. Every electronic or automatic system needs to communicate with the user, just like any person speaks to each other by means of words and languages.

Throughout the years various ways have been developed to cope with this goal: in the 70’s one of the first personal computer, maybe one of the most famous due to its BASIC programming language, the Altair 8800, used LEDs to communicate its state to the user.

Then, in the 80’s, 7-segment display dominated the era (just think about KITT from Knight Rider). The 90’s were the time of alphanumerical displays. The last twenty years saw the development of a progressively evolved way to use and to be kept in touch with technology.

We are used to interact with machines: from the washing machine to our cars, passing from our smartphone, there is one big and most important interface to let us communicate with them: the display.

Displays, even in bigger machines like trains, are the main window to see what’s going on inside this extremely complex system. SPII can manage the challenge of making this possible: to ensure the best view of the entire environment while retaining ease of use, ergonomics and style, in the Italian way of creating superb products.

This is paired with state-of-the-art technologies: Intel or ARM architectures, capacitive touch and numerous display form factors and size available to be integrated in a custom, reliable and, most of all, safe design. Safe because our solutions are also SIL2 according to EN 50129 and already employed for ETCS signalling onboard of trains driver desks.

Moreover, the modularity of our technology ensures quick time to market, even for the most customized solution. We never forget our mission of guaranteeing the best state of the art technology, fused with ergonomics and style, to keep our automatic world always on track.

If you want to learn more visit our website:

See you next time,
Davide Rossi

What makes IntelliArm revolutionary

What makes IntelliArm revolutionary 1920 1080 Spii
IntelliArm Urban Scenario Application

Safety and reliability are cornerstones of the railway world and since the dawn of this iconic and increasingly eco-friendly way of traveling, man has tried to guarantee it by improving every single aspect of it.

It is easy to think how visibility from the cab, as important as it is in the world of high-speed rail, plays an incredible role alongside the Driver in the urban scenario where, today, LRVs are increasingly present.

The world really changes quickly, our streets and cities are increasingly hectic and dynamic thanks to the advent of the latest in electric mobility, everyone is experiencing the experience of being in an urban setting, among pedestrians, bicycles and scooters.

What contribution can we offer by improving the conditions for which our sector, the railway one, is truly safer for those inside and outside the cabin?

It is IntelliArm that accompanies us in the discovery of this tech-article, a product that maximizes the concept of visibility, improving the safety of increasingly chaotic cities.

Visibility in the cabin, it hasn’t always been like today!

The famous view from the cabin, which sadly today fascinates memories of early 20th century trains with all the gauges and instruments that surround it, was certainly not the correct example of Cabin-Design aimed at increasing the safety on both driver and passenger side.

But we were only at the beginning! Certainly the boiler and all the pneumatic parts had to be easy to access in the cabin, a condition that however completely limited the front visibility so much that the drivers had to protrude from the side windows.

Source: 1367 SBB Historic B 3/4 at Airolo, 1920’s era circa.

Thanks to the advent of electrification, in the following decades, step by step, the cumbersome and limiting boiler gave way to a more modern control desk, which allowed the driver, finally, to have his eyes on what was happening on the tracks. . An increase not to be underestimated in terms of field of vision and cone of vision!

1960’ –

Driver Desk and fields of vision that, if we identified ourselves with a driver, would still accompany us along the very famous railway lines from all over the world.

Going back to the present day, starting from the 2000s, up to the most modern trains, the concept of visibility would seem to have reached an excellent goal and consequently passed into the background, allowing car builders to devote themselves more to equally important topics such as Ergonomics and Technology, which however, according to us at SPII, could be summarized in a single product.

The goal is to recreate a control desk whose essence is the perfect mix of Ergonomics, Style and Design, the result of our mission, maximizing the level of safety that is offered to the driver and those around him.

Frecciarossa 1000 Driver Desk

Field of View and Cone of Visibility

Working together with the professionals of the sector, and with the train drivers who work every day in our cities, crossing thousands of stations, has allowed us to touch on two issues that are very dear to them, and which make the difference if we want to talk about safety and innovation.
Introducing them is a must to better understand why we want to try to maximize them.

Field of view: The field of view is the area that represents the part of the outside world visible when fixing a point and is expressed in m².

Field of View: IntelliArm Vs Regional Train Driver Desk

Increase visibility by creating a new dimension of safety. Eliminate blind spots, upset the perception of what is happening outside your cabin.

Cone of visibility: Measured in degrees, it is the width of the cone that starts from the driver’s eye and hits the windshield.

Field of View: IntelliArm Vs Regional Train Driver Desk

Don’t make your work environment an hindrance to your senses. With IntelliArm, the advantage over the cone of visibility is clearly perceptible, offering better safety for you and those around you. The Driver is at the center of the work environment and can focus on what is really important.

IntelliArm in the results

Analyzing the results is easy and intuitive thanks to the metrics we have created by comparing the reference product, IntelliArm, with a classic Driver Desk still in service in Europe today.

The important improvement of these parameters is mainly due to the elimination of the bulky front components that have been repositioned in order to facilitate the driver’s visibility. By improving driving comfort and visibility, the user accumulates less stress and remains more alert, thus increasing safety on board the train.

IntelliArm redefines the standards of visibility thanks to its approach aimed at reducing dimensions and a geometry developed vertically, making it possible to reach all internal components intuitively and easily.

A product resulting from an ambitious path, the first command platform created with the user and engineered for the user, a true extension of command towards the complexity of the world around us.

See you next time,
Paolo Casoretti

To each country, its own train!

To each country, its own train! 1285 705 Spii

The Master Controller is a safety device that controls and conveys the main commands of the train: traction and braking.

Its function can therefore be defined in a simple way: the driver moves one or more levers to determine the movement or stop of the train, as well as the possible setting, by means of specific levers or buttons, of the direction and speed.

Although its function is very simple, the object inside is really complex; How to transmit the command to the train control unit, i.e. the vehicle logic, is essential to ensure high safety standards.

The Master Controller, in fact, is a constantly changing device: the position of the buttons and the number of levers, the presence or absence of encoders, the number of cams and microswitches, there are many variables to consider when designing a Master Controller. Therefore, even the movements, angles and combinations of unlocking functions may vary from project to project, a bit like a car reverse gear.
Like it happens for the automotive sector, also trains driver desks and Master Controllers themselves continue to change and companies in the railway sector are always looking for improvements and use of the most advanced technologies.

There are various reasons why Master Controllers can be so different from each other; let’s give a look at them together:


Train drivers all over the world spend a great deal of time on board the train and it is essential to ensure them high ergonomic standards. In fact, in recent decades, studies on the relationship of the body with the objects that surround us have been deepened.

The movements, the geometries and the functions of the controls themselves are constantly evolving.


The context has a strong impact on the perception of ergonomics: although there are sector regulations that determine the standards to be respected, often the subjective and contextual component is the one that prevails. For example, the comfort of the wrist angles, or how much force you need to use in order to move a lever, and so on.
In fact, the traditions, habits and customs of individual countries weigh on the decisions of the various car builders around the world.
Depending on the continent, country and pre-existing rail vehicles, the preferences and requirements of train drivers and builders change.


Last but not least, the differences are not limited only to the interface with the driver. A lot of variability is also found in the way in which the Master Controller must communicate with the train: electrical contacts, angle sensors, touch sensors, different supply voltages, etc.

As a Mechanical Engineer, I have been developing MCs for projects on all continents for several years, and I would hardly be able to define what the standard is, if questioned.

However, precisely this heterogeneity gives us the opportunity to explore new solutions, to give space to our creativity and to help customers define and satisfy, with them, the particular needs of each project. The customer himself, in fact, contributes to the development of the device with suggestions, details and wishes that pass from paper to physical realization.

For the reasons described above, the Master Controller is absolutely a custom device par excellence. Thanks to our experience we meet all the requests of the train manufacturer, of the company that will carry out the service and of the driver himself. But let’s not forget the over 500 Master Controllers, all different from each other, already produced and appreciated all over the world! In the absence of a technical specification or in the case of very tight deadlines, it is not possible to start from scratch and our product portfolio plays a fundamental role in this.

To conclude, whether it is a custom Master controller or an existing object, we must never forget that this device has an inestimable intrinsic value. Although the economic weight of a master controller is only 0.01% on an entire train, safety, availability and performance can depend on it.

See you next time,
Corrado Giusti

banco di manovra mosca 2020

MOSCOW 2020: Underground Renual

MOSCOW 2020: Underground Renual 1284 700 Spii

On 21/09/2020 the new train of the Moscow Metro 2020 was presented. It entered service in the autumn of the same year.

Here you go one of the most beautiful train in the world: the new underground train of the Russian capital “Moscow 2020”.

Moscow 2020 is a latest generation train, completely innovative and has our driver desk inside!

During the official ceremony, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said:

“We started renovating the rolling stock of the Moscow Metro in 2010 and now we have one of the youngest fleets among the metropolitan systems in the world” […]

“Today we welcome the new Moscow 2020 train, which clearly surpasses its predecessors thanks to its parameters. […]
The Moscow Metro is considered as an example by the designers. Our wagons, built in the 70s, are still used in Europe today. The new generation “Moscow 2020” will certainly serve as an experience for Europe and America “.

The driver desk was designed according to the following guidelines: innovation, modernity and comfort.
Entry to the driver’s cabin is permitted using an individual access card which also activates the complete traffic control and safety system.
The new generation train driver desk is more ergonomic and has almost twice as few buttons thanks to the large touchscreen monitors.

The ceremony was also attended by the Locomotive Engineer Instructor Andrej Blochin: “The desk is avant-garde, modern, much more ergonomic than the previous ones, the software incorporates that of smartphones, which allows the train driver to make decisions faster, in complete safety “.

The deputy head of the project Arcadiy Sajzev was also interviewed and he underlined the importance of combining tradition and innovation, with a look at the future version of “Moscow 24”.

Spii is proud to be part of this great project and to be on board the trains of the future!

See you next time,
Simona Gianoli & Valentina Marrese



The somatosensory system involves an enormous variety of sensations, not just vibrations or pressure, but also pain, temperature, and the position and movement of the body in space. This system includes at least 12 specialized types of receptors. Each of these sends different information to the brain, information we rely on to perform even the simplest actions. These receptors are found all over the surface of the body and also inside of it (just think that the average adult has 3 million pain receptors alone!).

In theory, tactile feedback encompasses all of these sensations. However, simulating the somatosensory system in its entirety is a huge challenge, compared to other senses such as sight or hearing.

In practice, tactile feedback always addresses a specific subset of the somatosensory system. A large number of touch devices (from game controllers to mobile phones) communicate exclusively via receptors on the hands, for example.

But what is haptic feedback?

Humans have five senses, but electronic devices communicate with us primarily using only two: sight and hearing.

Tactile feedback is therefore the use of touch in the human-machine interface and entered for the first time in gaming joysticks in the late 90s on which it is still present today.

We can talk about a real mode of communication rather than a specific technology or application.

How does haptic feedback work?

Tactile feedback consists in simulating the touch or interaction with something in real life, creating vibrations of precision. In our daily life, we make extensive use of the haptic mode when we interact with the environment around us. Without the manipulation and haptic detection abilities, this interaction would be extremely limited.

For decades, the sensory experience linked to human-machine interfaces in the railway world included only visual interaction. Today in SPII, in a futuristic and innovative perspective, we want to create the connection channel between the HMI and the end user, ensuring the perception of the command just executed through haptic feedback.

Our haptic panels are designed in accordance with EN 50155 and tested according to the main EN railway standards (EN 61373, EN 50121). We are able to offer a wide range of standard or customized solutions increasing the reliability of the Input devices.

The panel with tactile feedback also allows to increase the level of safety, guaranteeing not only a visual confirmation of the decision made by the end user, but also a tactile one in order to create a new and improved experience.

This type of interface is not born only from the need of the Railway world, but it wants to be able to offer itself to different fields of application including cranes, earthmoving machinery, the marine sector.

Our desire is to innovate and transmit the technological changes that are essential today, taking them to a new level.

“It is change, continuous change, inevitable change, which is the dominant factor in today’s society. No sensible decision can be made more without taking into account not only the world as it is now, but how it will be … This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our entrepreneurs, our ordinary men, must orient themselves towards a science fiction way of thinking.

Isacc Asimov

Do you want to learn more? Click here!

See you next time,
Valentina Marrese

Simplicity and reliability: displays of the future

Simplicity and reliability: displays of the future 1000 600 Spii

“What happened to simplicity?” asked Charles Bukowski “we all seem put on a stage, and we all feel obliged to put on a show”.

Since the 1960s, a word has become part of our everyday life: “display” or “monitor“, that is, visualization peripherals for computers, calculators and other devices.

Two sides of the same coin

The technological evolution of recent decades has pushed us to surround ourselves with objects with the sole aim of “simplifying our lives“. However, technology seems to be going in just the opposite direction; companies, in the era of competition, are always looking for new functions, sophisticated and complex solutions. But, as we have seen, the goal of the end user is to simplify their work in the use of the various interface systems.

Which is the main feature of the human-machine interface par excellence, the display? It’s precisely that of incorporating increasingly complex technologies while maintaining the simplicity of their use. Well yes! Although there are various technologies supporting and serving these monitors, their function has remained almost unchanged; to present information on a screen in a visual or tactile way.

At SPII, thanks to our global presence, we are close to our customers and railway operators all over the world, and we make available our expertise in Technology, Ergonomics and Style.

The features

Our HMIs have the appearance of a classic display but contain the functions of a real touch screen computer. They are characterized by a very high degree of configuration (mechanics, hardware, software, connections) and the ability to customize the style according to the application without sacrificing use, installation and maintenance ease. Simplicity is creativity and elegance at the same time.

In full compliance with all the strict regulations of the various sectors and SIL certified, our high quality products offer high performances and reliability in any environment. Of course, we pay attention to the needs of our customers. But, at the same time, we use eco-sustainable materials in order to protect the environment around us.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Cit – Leonardo Da Vinci

Would you like to know more? Visit our website!

See you next time,

driver desk Intellidesk

Life-changing trains exist. drive them!

Life-changing trains exist. drive them! 940 602 Spii

We love our job and we are committed every day to improve the relationship between man and machine by designing and implementing technological, ergonomic and safe solutions for rail and non-rail vehicles.

Plug & play, reliable, comfortable, our driver desks are completely customizable in terms of style, functionality and ergonomics.

Our passion and curiosity overwhelm and involve the user, the man at the center, the person around whom the solution is built. The long-term experience in the field and the continuous search for innovation have instead allowed us to become a global leader and center of competence for HMI devices.

SPII experts take care of every aspect of the driver desks development and production: from the definition, with and for the customer, of the technical features to the first installation, from maintenance to disposal.

A renewed driving experience: satisfying, exciting and in total safety.

“The journey not the arrival matters” T.S. Eliot

To learn more about our driver desks visit the related section of our website

See you next time!