As long as the ACI tags were organized, everything ran smoothly. Keeping a railroad spotless would be an enormous undertaking, and it would be impossible for a moving train to halt and rescan its cars until they could be read, as a store clerk might do with a dirty cereal box label.
A lot of cars still have the ACI labels on them, despite the fact that the system was shut down in the late 1970s and that the labels were supposed to be removed anytime the cars were taken in for maintenance or refinishing. As a result, railroads had to resort to manual methods, such as waybills and pencils, to keep track of their vehicles after having an easy automated system rendered outdated.
Yet in the early 1990s, technology advanced to the point where railways could finally do away with the pencils and automate the process of keeping track of its rolling stock. Machines can be instantly recognised with the use of the AEI data tag. Data tags have been required by the AAR to be fastened to the sides of all cars and locomotives since 1994.
Working of AEI Tags:
Attached to the left side of the train, 48 inches from the rail, are data tags—basically computer circuits in plastic boxes measuring about 3 by 10 inches. Try placing them on a metal angle or bracket to improve reception or transmission.
Locomotive, freight car, trailer, container, or end-of-train device data can be transmitted to aei tag readers on the ground via radio transponders called Automatic Train Identification (AEI) data tags. The tag’s contents vary depending on the type of equipment it’s attached to, but common information includes the vehicle’s owner, registration number, and the road it’s on.
Data tags are battery-free to nearly eliminate upkeep. The data from the data tags is retrieved by the trackside readers via a radio signal that is reflected and modulated back to the reader. In essence, the trackside readers employ a 90OMHz radio signal in place of the visible light used by checkout scanners.
Leaving data tags in their natural, grey plastic colour makes them highly visible on railroad machinery. Tags on brand-new automobiles and locomotives may be painted, but this is unusual since most vehicles and locomotives are left in their original colour.
Also quite obvious are AEI readers. The standard design features a white plastic box perched atop a triangular base. The reader is typically used in conjunction with a dragging-equipment detector or a roadside camera station. Approximately 1200 trackside readers can be found across the continent of North America.
1. AEI Data will Drive Demurrage Reduction Effort:
The location of a railcar, the side of the railcar that was scanned, the railcar’s number, and more may all be determined with the help of AEI tags. It is impossible to dispute the location of a railcar once the tag has been scanned by an AEI Tag Reader installed at a roadside. These scans have a time and date stamp, making them perfect for checking in and out. In order to confirm railroad demurrage invoices, many users consult this data.
2. Labor Hour Reduction will Improve Productivity:
The job market is quite competitive right now. Incorporating AEI into your business will make your employees’ lives easier… The days of keeping track of railcars by hand in the wet and cold are over. In addition, adopting automation (point 3) frees up your brilliant staff to concentrate on what really matters.
3. Revenue Protection:
It’s impossible to miss another train now. There have been numerous reports of railcars coming and going from a facility without ever being recorded. That could result in lost sales, inaccurate statistics, etc.