Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology began showing up on railcars in the mid-1980s. It only took approximately a decade for this technology to go from being a convenient option to a standard, which is used today in various forms. For a long time, the technology was only connected to retail. Now, you can find RFID technology in nearly all facets of life. In particular, the uses for RFID in the transportation sector are skyrocketing and this technology has made life easier and safer. When it comes to managing railways, RFID technology helps inefficient asset management, increased customer service, reduced human error, and decreased operational costs. Simple and inexpensive addition of RFID technology allows today’s rails to be more dependable than they have ever been.
RFID Railway Management
There are many different applications for RFID technology when it comes to railways. They all have the potential to increase productivity and safety for both the rolling stocks and the people in and around each train. Each application gives a deeper understanding of what the rolling stock and other assets have endured during its time on the rails and allows people to understand when it may need to be refurbished or removed from service. Here are some of the most commonly used railway management applications. 
- Laundry monitoring: Provisioning of RFID on blankets for identification and tracking for better management and accountability of linens, thus enabling better customer service.
- Protecting cargo: RFID technology is an efficient method of keeping track of cargo and one simple scan can provide access to cargo information such as item type, supplier and consignee details, loading, and unloading information, etc. This can deter theft of products and adds an extra layer of protection to both the railyard and the rolling stocks themselves.
- Providing safety checks: RFID technology allows for safety checks for people both on and near the rails. This can help track people on the trains while in transport, those working in the railyards, and service people working beside the tracks.
- Real-time updates: One of the best ways of using RFID technology is to provide real-time updates on where people or consignments are and the estimated time of arrival. This can keep travelers aware of what time they will reach their destination and employees aware of when the consignments will arrive at their stop.
- Rolling stock monitoring: Tagging individual rolling stocks with RFID tags, the data of each stock like vehicle ID and type, vehicle OEM details, owning railway, user area, and maintenance records of each rolling stock can be tracked and kept up to date. As maintenance is performed, maintenance data of individual stocks can be added to the report quickly and brought up for reference.
- Smart yard monitoring: RFID is a key component of smart yard monitoring for online fault detection and monitoring of individual rolling stocks with minimum human interference. RFID reader set-up along with fault detection sensors will help in correlating the condition of critical components, such as fault and abnormality with respective rolling stocks and thus helps in on-line condition monitoring, reporting for better asset management, and increasing the operational efficiency at workshops of railways.
Whenever RFID technology is placed into a railway system, it allows for greater transparency about what is going on. This offers several benefits to both the people using the railways and those managing it. It allows everyone to make sure that each rolling stock is where it should be, holding what it should hold, and going where it needs to go. Plus, the technology helps provide an extra layer of protection for all people involved with this process.
Syrma’s Vast RFID Expertise
Backed by over 40 years of design and manufacturing expertise, Syrma is the leading RFID products manufacturer and has been recognized and approved by the Design and IT arms of Indian Railways such as Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO), and Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). Syrma, being the approved source of above, has won several prestigious contracts to supply and install RFID tags for the Indian Railways.
Our design and manufacturing expertise spans across multiple diverse markets, and we look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for OEMs across the globe. We understand our home India market and we’re very familiar with its vast regulatory and selling environments. We foster growth opportunities within India through our strong technology incubation ecosystem. We also assist global OEMs seeking to enter the Indian market by leveraging the local supply chain and favorable operating environments for cost reductions.
Our flagship Chennai location opened in 2006 and lies within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for electronics manufacturing, offering economic incentives for imports and exports. This primary facility is within 90 minutes of the Chennai seaport and 20 minutes to the international airport, with additional road and rail connectivity linking to the rest of India and beyond, as well as infrastructure advantages with faster import and export clearances. We also have labor force availability, both technical and manual, to rapidly scale to client demand.
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