Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

DB Cargo adds smart sensors to 34,000 wagons

Steve Rogerson
September 3, 2019

DB Cargo has reached the halfway point in the digitalisation of its freight wagon fleet; the 34,000th wagon with telematics and smart sensors rolled out of the refitting facility in Seelze near Hanover last month.
By 2020, the approximately 68,000 wagons in the company's German fleet will all have the digital technology on board – the result of investing a seven-figure sum.
The GPS and sensor technology brings a range of benefits for DB Cargo's customers. A telematics module, GPS and the use of RFID and NFC tags help the analogue freight wagons join the connected digital world.
The modernised wagons use mobile telephony to transmit signals during the journey, such as when the wagon starts and stops or sensors detect an impact. These data can help produce useful information about the load condition, temperature and humidity and about the movement of sensitive cargo inside the wagon.
"The smart freight wagons are modernising rail freight transport and making it fit for the future," said Marek Staszek (pictured left), member of the management board for production at DB Cargo. “Our customers are benefiting from more manageable logistics chains, higher-quality transport and predictable arrival times. With these advantages, we want to achieve a lasting shift in traffic onto the environmentally friendly rail freight network and to make our contribution to strong rail in Germany and Europe.”
Jürgen Harland (pictured right), head of logistics and SCM at Salzgitter Flachstahl, added: "The value chain at Salzgitter Flachstahl relies heavily on efficient logistics processes. The digitalisation of our business processes, which is focussing on connectivity, real-time capability, high quality and excellent service, is becoming ever more important. The smart freight wagon is the final piece in the puzzle. The new data will refine and improve forecasts and assumptions as they provide information not just on the consignment but on quality, too."