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RFID: Track & tracing railway assets

Tracking & tracing railway assets

If track sections are assigned RFID codes, track availability increases. The reason for this is that the interrelationship of components can be identified more quickly if they are linked to a monitoring system. Malfunctions can also be taken into consideration better, and logistics handling can be expedited.

Digitalization on track with our RFID tag

Identification of railway products

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, which is a method of identifying a product and/or object through radio signals. RFID tags are minuscule chips that contain an identifier that can be read remotely. In a sense, RFID is the advanced successor to barcodes, and the main benefits include the ability to store more information. The chip can be embedded into objects almost invisibly and it is not necessary to hold the object right next to a scanner to retrieve information. The tag is read through a GPRS network, or through a SIM card in a mobile device.

Conditional monitoring track assets

An RFID tag can be linked to all kinds of intelligent systems, such as temperature sensors and motion sensors. It can, for instance, be very interesting to follow the behaviour of turnouts. The tag makes it possible to provide more data, even faster than is possible at present, which can help to resolve, or even predict, malfunctions. At present malfunctions are dealt with as they happen and recovery may take longer because the defective components must first be identified.

Faster malfunction recovery

We have developed a passive, but robust RFID tag. The RFID tag has been tested on harsh conditions that show that it is resistant to any damage caused by standard railway maintenance work such as brushing the ballast.

The information contained in the tag is only released from a distance of approx. 5 metres, and it can be read by hand scanners or special measuring devices on the train. The tag is about 5 by 3.5 cm in size, which makes it slightly larger than most tags, but it greatly reduces the risk of a maintenance technician replacing or repairing the wrong part.