VOITH and PJ Monitoring, Austria, have confirmed a collaborative project to combine coupler-assisted automatic train formation with remote controlled decoupling of freight wagons using an automatic coupler.

The work will explore the automation of Voith’s CargoFlex coupler with a focus on remote-controlled decoupling processes. PJM is a developer and supplier of automation solutions for rail freight applications, including its WaggonTracker real-time fleet monitoring solution. Information retrieved from WaggonTracker can also be used to automate complex processes, such as brake tests, and is the other key technology at the heart of the project.

The companies say they will pool their capabilities in digitalisation, automation and automatic couplers to develop a solution that will become the basis for highly digitised logistics management. They will jointly manage the development of key components such as safety-related applications, communication tools or protocols. They add that interoperability is a top priority for the development team and the key to the wider marketing and deployment of their findings. As a result, they will transfer the system into an industry platform during a later project phase to make it available to other participants.

The project is expected to run for several years.