KNORR-Bremse has announced the conclusion of a strategic cooperation and investment agreement with Nexxiot of Switzerland, which will see the company’s sensor technology deployed to improve the performance of Knorr-Bremse equipment.

Subject to regulatory approval, the partnership has seen Knorr-Bremse invest €60m in Nexxiot and acquire a minority stake to become the company’s largest shareholder.

Nexxiot specialises in fitting freight wagons and containers with its digital sensor technology, collecting data on equipment performance that can increase vehicle availability, optimise lifecycle costs and improve operational efficiency.

Under the first stage of the partnership, Knorr-Bremse will offer customers the option of retrofitting Nexxiot’s data-gathering sensor technology to vehicle subsystems already in operation, such as braking systems, doors and air-conditioning, and connecting them to Nexxiot’s cloud-based system.

The second stage will see Knorr-Bremse “natively integrate its original equipment into the digital ecosystem,” the company says.

Based on real-time analysis of data in the Nexxiot system, Knorr-Bremse says it will be able to monitor the health of subsystems and predict maintenance needs. Customers will be able to maintain fleets more proactively and cost-effectively by moving to condition-based and predictive maintenance.

Knorr-Bremse says that it delivers 120,000 connectable new rail assets every year and maintains 100,000 assets already in operation. “This represents a strong potential basis for future data-driven business,” says the company, which expects its digital business to grow significantly over the next few years and account for €200m of revenue at its rail division by 2027.

Nexxiot technology is currently installed in 200,000 vehicles in Europe, accounting for over 25% of the total European fleet, according to Knorr-Bremse. Nexxiot expects to fit over 2 million wagons and containers around the world by 2024, and has recently agreed a contract to install its sensors on a large part of the Hapag-Lloyd container fleet, which totals 3 million TEU.

“By combining our systems technology with Nexxiot’s digital ecosystem, we’re creating a win-win scenario that will boost vehicle availability and lower the total cost of fleet ownership by leveraging a new generation of data-based services,” says Dr Jürgen Wilder, member of the executive board at Knorr-Bremse and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division.

“Our sensors and scalable cloud-based platform help turn rolling stock assets into connected, data-generating industrial objects,” says Nexxiot CEO, Mr Stefan Kalmund. “Leveraging rail data in real time will be a key success factor in helping make rail networks and rail services fit for the future.