AEI tags are computer circuits in rectangular plastic boxes that measure 30” square. They are placed on the left of railroad cars about four feet above the rail. Many are placed on brackets to make them easier to read. The tags do not need batteries, and the readers on the tracks use a radio signal to retrieve data from the reader. They work similarly to the scanner at a grocery store, but instead of light, they use a 90OMHz radio signal.
The AEI data tags include information about the individual rolling stock, and they are placed on all types of train cars, from locomotives to containers, trailers, and end-of-train devices. The tags include who owns the car, what type it is, and the road number. These small tags are handy devices for everyone involved in the railroad and logistics industries.
The AEI readers take care of many issues that arise at railyards. They provide plenty of information to human workers, most of the information coming through emails. For example, the AEI system can send a list of inbound rail cars to the logistics manager. When the cars arrive, the system generates an email for the employees at the yard.
The system can also send lists when cars are on an outbound trajectory. It can also inform employees when cars are shipped, unshipped, and transferred through the switchlist. Interestingly, the system can also send emails about the shipping date of a car. If the ship date is less than two weeks, the system sends a notification email. The system can also send a report about missing tags.
There are several benefits to using AEI tag readers. This technology is reliable and affordable, so much that trucking companies also use data tags on some of their trucks and trailers.
AEI tag readers capture information on all inbound and outbound railcars. This gives customer service departments the information they need to update customers on their shipments. These updates can be done at any point along the way.
The tags and readers provide necessary updates even in the harshest weather conditions. Because they rely on radio frequencies rather than visual data, information is accessible in snowy, rainy, and icy conditions. Even the railroad cars covered with dirt and oil can send reliable information. The tags and readers work in severe temperatures, too.
If any technical problems arise with the readers and tags, email alerts are sent to those who need to know.
The RFID technology in the AEI tags collects data in an accurate and reliable way. With AEI tags, all forms of transportation - marine, rail, port, and trucking - use these tags to monitor their assets and track where they are. According to the Association of American Railroads, there are about 1,200 trackers around the United States. And over 1.2 million rail cars and 22,000 locomotives have been tagged.
Along with flexible data collection, data is collected instantly and at several points along the journey. This allows companies to function with more efficiency because they know where their assets are. The flexible data collection via AEI tags reduces human, which benefits everyone involved in the transportation industry.
Before AEI tags, yard management personnel were responsible for manually recording details about each railcar. They had to look at the tag date and manually write or input instructions to learn what the cars needed. Then, the rail yard management had to take care of maintenance, loads, and work orders. Because this was all done manually, human error was a major problem. With AEI readers, all human errors disappear as data collection and information sharing is accurate and effective.
With AEI tags, the equipment can be used more often, which increases returns on investments. The tags and readers also decrease the amount of time that equipment and assets need to be rehandled. The costs of dwell time and overhead reduces significantly, too.
When transportation and logistics companies rely on AEI tag readers, they can reduce their labor expenses. Yard management personnel will no longer need to manually keep track of inventories. Instead, human workforces can do tasks that require more thought and analysis.
Because AEI tag readers reduce human errors, the cost of repairing those errors reduces. With AEI tags, all aspects of running a rail yard become more efficient. The AEI system streamlines rail inspection, inventory, check-ins, and weighing while reducing costs and improving the processes. The readers give companies immediate information about serial numbers and transactional data.
Before AEI tags and readers, all of this was done with people, and errors frequently happened. Unfortunately, those errors meant that someone had to fix them. Repairing errors were costly and did damage to company reputations. Errors were stressful, and it reduced productivity. Automating the process of tracking data improves the bottom line and increases workflow.
When railcars and other vehicles rely on AEI tags, logistics companies and railyards reduce their overhead costs. Companies will no longer have to worry about human errors because the AEI tags provide necessary data. Labor hours decrease because humans will no longer need to keep track of inventory and other information. Instead, labor hours can be used elsewhere to better serve customers.
Almost all North American railroad equipment has AEI technology. While it has changed the way that people work with railcars, this invention has made life easier for the railroad and shipping industry. Data collected through the AEI tag reader technology is a great value for operations management.