The agreement will allow Hitachi to offer rail freight companies around the world a solution that provides real time monitoring to improve efficiency and safety.
Netherlands-based IMT has pioneered the development of digital monitoring sensors and telematics solutions for freight cars and containers. The sensors verify the exact location of the cars, the loading status, the open/close condition of doors and hatches, the temperature and pressure of the cargo and the health condition of bogies and wheelsets. The data is sent to the Cloud via a solar powered GPS device and allows the condition of the train and its cargo to be monitored in real time, as well as alerting operators about potential issues. The partnership allows the use of AI analytics to optimise the efficiency and safety of its customers’ freight services worldwide.
Powered by IMT, Hitachi can now provide fully-fledged telematics solutions that improve reliability and performance for the freight market. The technology can give companies the vital information they need to control their supply chains more efficiently and respond with appropriate interventions more quickly. With global supply chains having faced major disruption throughout 2021 and challenges predicted to continue, the partnership offers enhanced resilience for companies transporting goods via rail freight, the two companies believe.
The partnership with IMT will complement Hitachi Rail’s purchase of Perpetuum last year. Perpetuum, a British rail technology firm provides Hitachi with digital solutions that improve train reliability and performance. Its remote condition monitoring detects emerging damage in train bogies long before it can be identified by other means, thus preventing failures, facilitating more efficient maintenance cycles, and increasing the life of the wheelset. Coupled with the IMT solution, Hitachi will now be able to monitor freight vehicles completely in real time.
Enhanced digital freight offering
“Hitachi Rail is focused on growing its digital offer to develop data-driven solutions to meet our customer’s complex challenges,” said Edoardo La Ficara, executive officer and COO for operation, service & maintenance of Hitachi Rail.
“Our exclusive partnership with IMT delivers this and enables Hitachi to provide an enhanced digital freight offer across the globe, with a strong initial focus on European and North American markets. This solution will enable operators and maintainers to be aware of vehicles’ position and status at all times. This will provide a radical evolution for the freight industry, whose railcars are overwhelmingly without any telematics or monitoring whatsoever.”
IMT will now exclusively offer the Perpetuum sensor solution in the freight market, which will broaden IMT’s full portfolio in asset and cargo monitoring for the international rail market.
For Dethmer Drenth, managing director and founder of IMT, said the partnership adds significant value to its railcar market offering as it expands its assets and cargo related monitoring to specific predictive asset maintenance monitoring.
“(With the Hitachi/Perpetuum sensor) we can now create a holistic view of the railcar above and below the axle, alerting the asset and cargo owner on a need-to-know and managing-by-exception basis.”
The integration of digital technology has a major role to play in enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, train maintenance and safety. The partnership follows the global mobility firm’s strategy of expanding its digital capabilities, including Hitachi’s Lumada platform that uses AI and the Internet of Things to turn data into actionable business insights.
The initial focus for the new digital service will be in Europe and North America. Hitachi Rail is already an established provider to freight operators in North America, where over 34.5 million carloads and intermodal units were transported in 2021, a growth of 4.8 percent compared to 2020.