TransCore Unveils Next Generation RFID Rail Products

Supports rail industry as it increases security and visibility into chain of custody of shipments and assets

HARRISBURG, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After a multimillion dollar investment in research and development, TransCore introduces a next generation multiprotocol radio frequency identification (RFID) rail reader and a field processor unit, the Train Recording Unit (TRU™). Both are designed to support the rail market’s transition to updated automatic equipment identification (AEI) technology, used throughout the industry to monitor rail car assets.

The railroads have been instrumental in driving all aspects of AEI product development since the original design in the early ‘90s, including the products announced today. This new technology was developed and tested with major railroads to insure it meets their high standards of performance.

TransCore has a long-standing relationship with railroads around the world with systems in place in 25 countries. Efficiently managing rail cars to meet today’s needs for exceptional customer service represents a large expense, ranging from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Consequently, in-transit asset visibility into location, status of a load, maintenance status, or avoiding the asset sitting empty in a rail yard poses an extraordinary communication process among multiple systems in an expansive transportation network. Using wireless RFID technology to monitor railway operational efficiency saves time and money by automating the process of tracking the location and status of railway equipment in both high and low speed environments.

George McGraw, TransCore’s executive vice president operations, which includes RFID manufacturing, explained, “Railroads across North America move more than approximately 1.7 billion tons of freight a year and need the latest technology to enhance visibility and security for shipment tracking and providing chain of custody of shipments.

“More crucial is that this technology is interoperable with their current investment in AEI technology and can transition to newer technology without rendering the current systems obsolete.”

Some of the appealing new features are:

  • Ability to update tags remotely without taking rail cars out of service.
  • Replace obsolete and unreliable systems that are no longer manufactured or supported.
  • More cost-effective technology:
    • A single TRU controller that can handle train processing on two tracks versus just one.
    • First to comply with AAR recommended Practice RP-9203.
  • Improved train reporting accuracy in both single and multi-track environments
    • Accurate handling of high value, specialty cars.
    • Easily updated with new car profiles for the most accurate standing order train consists.
    • Provides S918A train and maintenance reporting.
  • Reduced maintenance costs with:
    • Automated integrated self diagnostics,
    • Automated maintenance reporting,
    • Extensive remote access and support features.
  • A networkable device that allows existing sites to be easily upgraded to use today’s network IP communications strategies.
  • Built rugged for the highest reliability in the rail environment.
    • Complies with AREMA 11.5.1 Class C environmental specifications

About the Multiprotocol Rail Reader

TransCore’s Multiprotocol Rail Reader (MPRR) is a fully integrated, self-contained 902 to 928 MHz wireless RFID reader that is specifically designed for rail applications. The MPRR is a replacement for TransCore’s AI1200 Reader/AR2200 RF module systems. The MPRR can read the current AAR format and the new SeGo protocol tags. All MPRRs provide unparalleled flexibility by offering a real-time clock; expanded tag read buffering; programmable RF output power; programmable frequency range from 860.00 to 930.00 MHz in 250-kHz programmable frequency steps; and system integrity checking.

The MPRR employs advanced multiplexing techniques that improve reader performance at higher train speeds when compared to legacy products. In addition, this unique multiplexing mode provides the capability for one reader to manage up to four antennas.

The MPRR interfaces directly to TransCore’s TRU rail wayside automatic equipment identification (AEI) controller to provide a complete railroad AEI reader system to the North American railroads. Multiprotocol Rail Readers are quickly and easily installed, tested, and maintained by TransCore trained, authorized personnel.

About TRU, the Train Recording Unit

The TransCore Train Recording Unit (TRU) captures automatic equipment identification tag data and other data to report an accurate standing order train consist to railroad management systems. It is the key component used to implement AEI reader systems at mainline rail locations in North America. The TRU records detailed information about trains, uses the information to create “clean consists,” and then transmits consist reports to one or more host computer systems. A train “clean consist” report is a train listing in standing order, where orientation of tagged equipment is provided, location of untagged equipment is provided, and car count is accurate. The TRU accommodates and accurately filters data from normal operating procedures such as changes in speed and direction. The TRU also incorporates intelligence to handle both single and multi-track locations.

About TransCore

TransCore’s 75-year heritage supporting the transportation industry spans a range of offerings for the rail, intermodal, trucking, toll, traffic management, airport, parking, access control and homeland security markets. With installations in 46 countries, more than 100 patents, and pioneering applications of RFID and satellite communications technologies, TransCore’s expertise is unparalleled in the markets it serves. In 2011, TransCore was ranked by Engineering News-Record (ENR) No. 154 out of the Top 500 Design Firms. TransCore is a U.S. owned and operated company with headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa.

TransCore operates as a unit of Roper Industries, a Standard & Poor’s S&P 500 Index company.