Lineas: Digitalizing rail transport
Lineas, the largest private rail freight operator in Europe, is digitalizing its wagon fleet withfrom Bosch.
A project with future potential
Lineas, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and with locations in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, sends its 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 optimize 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 took over the project and presented their Track and Trace solution with new solar-based gateways, Lineas decided to expand the cooperation.
2,600 wagons to be digitalized with Track and Trace
Bosch provides the IoT solution for cross-border online tracking and tracing of wagons. It consists of the Track and Trace software, IoT devices and an ITSS interface. “Since the beginning of the cooperation we were able to increase capacity utilization of our fleet by more than 40 percent,” says Verachten.
“With their data analysis, Bosch 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 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 optimize 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 digitalization will intensify the cross-border communication with our customers.” Once this second project is finalized, Lineas sees further potential to equip more of its 6,000 wagons with Track and Trace.