RFID Case Study: Dutch Rail Company Improves Wagon Safety with RFID


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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. They achieved an automated, unified view of rail assets with the deployment of an RFID-based solution from Confidex. With the data, the company has insight into the condition, status and location of its equipment; increasing safety and ensuring timely maintenance of components.



Voestalpine was looking for a solution that would allow them to efficiently access rail resources and track maintenance efforts for thousands of assets. In addition, they wanted a central register for managing components and there was a need for automated data.



Voestalpine worked with 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. The solution was a passive RAIN RFID system that could reliably capture data about each asset as it passed key points.

Voestalpine has attached a 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.



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.



Since 2005 Confidex has become the trusted partner for system integrators and end-users of high performing short-range wireless products to enable Industrial IoT technologies throughout the world. Together with their technology partners Confidex builds value-adding and sustainability driven solutions for asset management, traceability, authentication and real-time location services – applicable in manufacturing, supply chain and automotive.


Used Cipers products:

Confidex Ironside Classic passive RFID