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Rail OCR and tracking systems

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Highly automated identification and inventory tracking of rail freight enables higher productivity and safety of marine and rail terminals.


Today intermodal rail operations play an important role within the global supply chain. Leveraging the tracking technology solutions implemented by many European and North American railroads and freight operators, many shipping companies and their partners have begun to utilize intermodal transport options in an effort to lower the costs to their customer and lower the environmental impact of cargo traffic.

The ABB Rail OCR and tracking systems help to handle this recent growth using proven automation systems to improve productivity and keep operating costs low. The Rail OCR Portal takes the next step in providing vastly enhanced tracking and identification of containerized cargo that moves via the rail. The flexible system is able to identify and track rail equipment and containers in a wide range of operational scenarios, such as:

  • Marine container terminals (with on-dock rail tracks)
  • Traditional inland and near dock intermodal terminals
  • Multi-tenant interchange yards
  • Along high-speed mainline tracks

By combining OCR technology and unique software, the ABB system identifies, tracks and archives the image and equipment number information of each rail wagon and its containers that make up a passing train. This data is collected and combined to produce fully automated container to railcar association and to eliminate the need to manually perform train inventories upon train arrival. In addition, the system can capture damage inspection images to enable verification of equipment condition and damage during arrival and departure.

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