Dutch Rail Company improves wagon safety with RFID


Dutch rail company voestalpine Track Solutions has achieved an automated, single view of rail assets with the deployment of an RFID-based solution relying on Confidex’s ruggedized tags. With data, the company has an eye on the condition, status and location of its rolling stock; boosting safety as well as a ensuring the timely maintenance of components.


  • The demand to efficiently access rail assets where they are needed.
  • Tracking maintenance efforts across thousands of assets.
  • Lack of centralized register for management of components
  • Need for affordable access to automated data.


  • With the passive RAIN RFID solution voestalpine has a full view into the location and status of rail wagons and components.
  • Automatic identification of wheel defects based on sensor and RFID data.
  • Passive RFID provides cost reduction in comparison with active RFID system.
  • Voestalpine has now achieve a reliable system that does not depend on a power supply.

Voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands B.V. supports infrastructure managers and contractors in the construction and maintenance of rail infrastructure. In this way it helps the railway infrastructure industry gain maximum network uptime by providing specialized assets and logistical services.

Voestalpine leverages multiple third-party providers of maintenance for its network of assets and assumes control over all maintenance efforts. Traditionally, management of assets was a manual task, so the company needed an automated way to manage the location and condition of assets. It had deployed an active RFID system that provided valuable data but was too high-cost for the large volume of tags needed, and each tag required an on-board power supply on the wagon.

The solution was a passive RAIN RFID system that could reliably capture data about each asset as it passed key points. Voestalpine worked with Confidex distributor Cisper Electronics B.V. and selected Confidex to provide passive, fail-proof transmission while being affordable and highly ruggedized for the challenging environment of the rail yard and tracks.

Voestalpine has attached a Confidex Ironside Classic passive RFID tag to each side of its cargo wagons. The company then mounted RAIN RFID readers along the track to identify each tagged wagon as it passed in either direction.

As the train passes the reader, a measurement of wheel friction on the track is linked with the RFID tag’s unique ID. Voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands B.V. developed a software solution that processes the data and presents the necessary information for intelligent planning as well as real-time access to the key information about component status and location. In fact, in the single centralized register, the company can view wheel condition, use and travel distance for each wagon. Tags have also been applied to insulated rail joints.

Confidex Ironside Classic is designed for the harshest of environments

To ensure that every item is properly tracked, Medigas needed a reliable mount-on-metal label with flexibility for use across many form factors. Those labels are applied to cryogenic cylinders and other metallic equipment before they are sent to individual homes. The company chose the Confidex Silverline family of RAIN RFID labels. The Silverline industrial grade, printable, on-metal labels are designed for durability and flexibility. The products boast various sizes, each with durable PET face material for durable printing and industrial grade adhesive for challenging environments.


With the solution voestalpine’s integrated digital register offers a complete overview of the status of component maintenance, increasing the availability of each asset as well reducing maintenance cost and ensuring the safety of each asset. And with readers mounted in tracks, the tagged rail wagons can be identified at a speed up to 250 kilometers per hour.

The technology is also used during maintenance to create a real-time digital maintenance record regarding each component. Operators use a handheld reader to enter relevant data, which automatically links to the precise location of each item. Users can then input or view relevant maintenance status and any changes of components.

Beyond maintenance, the data provides further safety benefits. For example, with the data captured for each unique component, the rail company also can guarantee safe intervals between trains.

Voestalpine has gained an operational cost reduction with the passive RFID deployment, along with a more reliable system that ensures the data needed to ensure visibility into the operations, safety and profitability of its assets.