“Our mission is to offer high quality rail products and services that inspire companies to choose rail cargo as the most sustainable mode of transport,” says Suzy Verachten, Project Leader – Asset Management at Lineas. “To do so, we need intelligent connectivity solutions with a high value-add for our customers. This is exactly what Nexeed Track and Trace offers us.”
A project with future potential
Lineas, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and with locations in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, sends it trains and wagons with customer goods from the steel, chemistry, automotive and many other industries across Europe. In 2017, the rail freight operator equipped 1,100 wagons with AMRA boxes from Bosch. The generated data was mainly used to optimise maintenance work on the wagons. “Knowing exactly where which wagon is located within our depots is very helpful for planning maintenance times and intervals,” Verachten explains. When Bosch Connected Industry took over the project and presented their Nexeed Track and Trace solution with new solar-based gateways, Lineas decided to expand the cooperation.
2,600 wagons to be digitalised with Nexeed Track and Trace
Bosch Connected Industry provides the IoT solution for cross-border online tracking and tracing of wagons. It consists of the Nexeed Track and Trace software, IoT devices and an ITSS interface. “Since the beginning of the cooperation we were able to increase capacity utilisation of our fleet by more than 40 percent,” says Verachten. “With their data analysis, Bosch Connected Industry showed us what else Nexeed Track and Trace was capable of. Now we are implementing further use cases with the new generation of IoT devices.” In total, another 1,500 wagons are currently being equipped with gateways and connected to the Nexeed Track and Trace software until the end of this year.
Data analytics are the key
Thanks to the combination of historical and current data, Lineas now knows exactly where longer standstill times occur. They are displayed in a so-called heat map. Starting at Lineas' own depot in Antwerp, Bosch and Lineas have successively extended the analysis to numerous routes and junctions. "Now we know virtually, in real time, where our wagons are located, which routes we can optimise and where there is potential for savings for our customers," says Verachten. "The new solar-based gateways help us, as we no longer need to worry about their maintenance and the data is transmitted to the software at even shorter intervals."
Cross-border customer communication
Lineas can now communicate the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and any delays directly to customers within minutes, which makes collaboration much easier. "By planning their loading and unloading times more precisely, our customers are also able to improve their processes," Verachten explains. "In addition to greater transparency about the whereabouts of our wagons, we hope that this digitalisation will intensify the cross-border communication with our customers.” Once this second project is finalised, Lineas sees further potential to equip more of its 6,000 wagons with Nexeed Track and Trace.
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