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Finnish Transport Agency deploys Europe’s largest rail ID system

The Finnish Transport Agency is deploying Europe’s largest train identification system with a passive RFID solution that will cover the entire Finnish state rail network. Service provider Vilant will install 120 specialized RFID reader units and integrate them into FTA’s detector network.

The goal of the system is to improve safety and service of operations on Finnish railroads by providing real-time monitoring of trains at all speeds. The system can accurately read trains at speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, or about 150 miles per hour. By recording maintenance data about rail cars, the Finnish Transport Agency hopes to make a dramatic reduciton in the $135 million (EUR) that it spends each year to maintain its track network.

Vilant is deploying RFID for the Finnish Transport Agency

Aside from helping FTA to isolate maintenance issues like faulty axles on rail cars before they fail, the database of information provided from the system provides a better service to operators by informing them about the exact location and arrival times of their trains.

During a one-year pilot, Vilant worked with the FTA, also known as Liikennevirasto, to prove out a solution based on passive Gen 2 RFID technology. Four Vilant RFID reader units were installed in different locations by the Finnish railroad.

The reader units were used to collect information from the rail cars passing on the tracks, as well as, combine it with information from the FTA’s detector system.  Even untagged wagons linked to RFID tagged trains are registered in the system and reported on.

“The results of the pilot were most satisfactory,” says Seppo Mäkitupa, a senior officer at Liikennevirasto. “Vilant was able to show that the RFID system is reliable and working with almost 100 percent accuracy. This convinced us that passive Gen 2 RFID technology works and we can start to take advantage of the benefits it offers.”

Passive RFID is starting to take hold in the rail industry, which has been dominated by active systems in the past. FTA will be one of the world’s first rail organizations i to implement passive RFID technology. Last year, Vilant tagged over 10,000 wagons and locomotives with Gen 2 RFID for VR Transpoint.

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