Press Release Summary:
Onboard Asset Command Unit (ACU) incorporates 3-axis accelerometer sensor for measuring and reporting motion that can damage contents of railcar or car itself. Wireless, real-time monitoring system identifies time, location, type, intensity, and duration of impacts. Data is available 24/7 on secure web portal, which also lets users set proactive alert (email/text message)-triggering thresholds. Battery-operated device has integrated solar panel, MPU, GPS receiver, and GSM/GPRS modem.
Original Press Release:
RFTrax' New Accelerometer Sensor Shows Location, Intensity, and Duration of Rail Impacts in Transit
Powerful, Integrated Sensor Reports Details of Impacts on Three Axes via RFTrax's User-Friendly Web Portal and Proactive Alerts
SUGAR LAND, Texas - March 28, 2008 - RFTrax, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfield Industries, announced today a major enhancement to its wireless, real-time monitoring system aimed at helping rail shippers and railroads identify the time, location, type, intensity, and duration of impacts. The company has integrated the new Accelerometer sensor into its onboard Asset Command Unit (ACU) to measure and report on motion that can damage the contents of a railcar or the car itself. RFTrax technology delivers Accelerometer sensor data conveniently to customers 24/7 on its secure, easy-to-use Web portal. In addition, customers can set impact thresholds that trigger a proactive alert via email or text message.
"Although no one can eliminate all the risks of shipping easily damaged goods by rail, our Accelerometer sensor is a powerful tool for managing these risks," said John Felty, national sales manager, RFTrax. "This highly sensitive and accurate sensor technology enables customers to monitor railcar ride quality in real time, capture specific details of an event, and provide documentation for incident prevention or resolution."
RFTrax customer Specialized Rail Transport (SRT), a Houston-based company that provides rail shipments of extremely large, heavy loads, has been using the ACU with the integrated Accelerometer sensor for a year. Both the company and its customers benefit from the ability to monitor the location and status of a shipment on the RFTrax graphical Web portal in real time.
"Whether they are shipping a transformer, a generator, or a million-pound reactor vessel, our customers want current, accurate information on the location and condition of their equipment while it's in transit," said Alex Loya, SRT's vice president. "The Accelerometer sensor promptly informs customers about an impact event requiring an inspection so they can make arrangements. It also lets engineers know the intensity of an impact so they can determine if it falls within tolerances. Finally, information on the GPS location of the shipment enables customers to get cranes and crews ready at the right time."
SRT especially appreciates how easy it is to use the system. "It's easy to attach and remove," Loya said, adding that SRT uses the RFTrax devices as a sales tool. "It enhances our business offering by providing an extra service," Loya explained.
And in the unlikely case of damage to a railcar or shipment, SRT has detailed information from the Accelerometer and ACU to use as documentation. "Detailed data on an event is particularly important when there are multiple carriers involved," he noted.
The Accelerometer Sensor measures motion on three axes:
1. Inline forces including over-speed impact and excessive buff and draft action
2. Vertical events that may be experienced at rough crossings or through railcar motion such as pitch and bounce
3. Cross-line activity including truck hunting and roll
The measurements and events recorded by the Accelerometer are transmitted to the ACU, which sends data and alerts over the cellular network to the RFTrax back-end computing system.
The ACU is a rugged, battery-operated telemetry device with an integrated solar panel. It features a microprocessor, a GPS receiver, and a GSM/GPRS cellular modem. The ACU provides the GPS location, direction of travel, and speed of the railcar, and interfaces with the Accelerometer and other sensors.
With the easy-to-use and secure RFTrax Web portal, which is linked to Google Maps(TM) for geographical information, customers can track the location and status of their cars, set parameters such as geofences (which establish virtual boundaries for cars), and run a variety of reports. They can also set up alerts that instruct the system to send an email or text message if certain conditions or events occur.
RFTrax is a leader in total asset tracking solutions for locomotives and railcars. The company's Asset Management Platform combines state-of-the-art technologies that incorporate GPS; a full range of wireless, real-time communications; specialized business intelligence; and integrated with supply chain management software that enable customers to make better business decisions, manage risk, increase profitability, and predict and prevent problems before they occur. RFTrax is headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfield Industries, Inc., a privately held multinational instrumentation and data collection, processing, and licensing company. For more information, visit rftrax.com.