Smart sensors help DB Cargo track and monitor freight cars

Posted: 24 September 2018 | | No comments yet

DB Cargo AG, Europe’s leading rail freight carrier, has commissioned Siemens Mobility to digitalise a large part of its freight car fleet

A total of 30,000 freight cars will be equipped with the CTmobile freight sensor solution allowing DB Cargo to directly and continuously determine the cars’ location. The sensor also provides information about load conditions. The freight cars will be equipped over a period of three years. Siemens Mobility will operate the system for six years, monitoring data acquisition and data flows through its central in-house CT server. The contract includes an option to equip up to 50,000 freight cars.

Steffen Bobsien, Senior Vice President European Assets & Technology at DB Cargo, said: “In an increasingly digitalised world, customers expect a high level of service these days. They want to know in real-time where their freight is, when it will arrive at its destination, and its condition.”

Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility GmbH, said: “We’re pleased that DB Cargo has placed its trust in us for this major project, which acts as a model character for the entire industry. For Siemens Mobility, this is the largest order we’ve received to date for the digitalisation of a freight car fleet.”

In 2017, DB Cargo announced that its entire fleet will be equipped with new sensors and telematic systems by 2020. The CTmobile system will provide DB Cargo information about its freight cars and trains in real-time and can pass it on to control centres, maintenance personnel and train operators to ensure efficient logistics and route planning. By continuously monitoring the cars, CTmobile not only helps detect theft, damage and accidents, but also provides high-quality transport documents.

By tracking the freight cars via GPS, their expected time of arrival can be optimally determined. In addition, data collected by the smart sensors can provide information about the condition of a car’s load as well as the car’s temperature and humidity. Since the position of each freight car can be easily tracked, DB Cargo can achieve higher car availability.

Siemens Mobility will supply the CTmobile telematics box installed on the freight car which records and wirelessly transmits the data, as well as the CTsensor device, which monitors physical conditions in the car such as temperature and humidity, and transmits this data to the telematics box. The CTsensor is usually installed in or beneath the freight car. The telematics unit records the car’s position via GPS and transmits it to the central Siemens Mobility CT server application. Individual and aggregated status information can be monitored, transmitted and analysed via secure Internet access, an automatic e-mail or an SMS alarm. Data from all device-equipped freight cars is collected in the central server and conveyed via a standardised transmission interface to the customer, where it is supplemented and processed with further information from the customer’s business systems.