Voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands B.V. supports infrastructure managers and contractors in the construction and maintenance of rail infrastructure. In this way it helps the railway infrastructure industry gain maximum network uptime by providing specialized assets and logistical services.
Voestalpine leverages multiple third-party providers of maintenance for its network of assets and assumes control over all maintenance efforts. Traditionally, management of assets was a manual task, so the company needed an automated way to manage the location and condition of assets. It had deployed an active RFID system that provided valuable data but was too high-cost for the large volume of tags needed, and each tag required an on-board power supply on the wagon.
The solution was a passive RAIN RFID system that could reliably capture data about each asset as it passed key points. Voestalpine worked with Confidex distributor Cisper Electronics B.V. and selected Confidex to provide passive, fail-proof transmission while being affordable and highly ruggedized for the challenging environment of the rail yard and tracks.
Voestalpine has attached a Confidex Ironside Classic passive RFID tag to each side of its cargo wagons. The company then mounted RAIN RFID readers along the track to identify each tagged wagon as it passed in either direction.
As the train passes the reader, a measurement of wheel friction on the track is linked with the RFID tag’s unique ID. Voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands B.V. developed a software solution that processes the data and presents the necessary information for intelligent planning as well as real-time access to the key information about component status and location. In fact, in the single centralized register, the company can view wheel condition, use and travel distance for each wagon. Tags have also been applied to insulated rail joints.
Confidex Ironside Classic is designed for the harshest of environments
The Confidex Ironside Classic was built to sustain the most rugged environments including rail yards and tracks. With a rubber surface material, and extreme mechanical durability, the Ironside Classic operates at broad range of temperatures, and is designed for excellent performance in all-weather environments as well as offering pressure and vibration resistance, and operational shock.
With the solution voestalpine’s integrated digital register offers a complete overview of the status of component maintenance, increasing the availability of each asset as well reducing maintenance cost and ensuring the safety of each asset. And with readers mounted in tracks, the tagged rail wagons can be identified at a speed up to 250 kilometers per hour.
The technology is also used during maintenance to create a real-time digital maintenance record regarding each component. Operators use a handheld reader to enter relevant data, which automatically links to the precise location of each item. Users can then input or view relevant maintenance status and any changes of components.
Beyond maintenance, the data provides further safety benefits. For example, with the data captured for each unique component, the rail company also can guarantee safe intervals between trains.
Voestalpine has gained an operational cost reduction with the passive RFID deployment, along with a more reliable system that ensures the data needed to ensure visibility into the operations, safety and profitability of its assets.
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