Rail Tank Car Detection System (RTCDS)

The Rail Tank Car Detection System (RTCDS) of IGATEC GmbH recognises the 8-digit tank car numbers (RTC-no.) of passing rail tank cars.

In front of the loading station, 1 to 4 cameras and a junction box are installed per track (according to the customer’s recognition rate requirements).

An inductive wheel sensor (alternatively a light barrier) detects the rail tank cars when they enter the loading station. The locomotive is also detected, but not photographed.

The evaluation of the wheel sensor signal enables the correct acquisition of all RTCs (a distinction is made between 4-axle and 8-axle RTCs) as well as precise switching (triggering) of the camera to capture the images of the tank and/or chassis by the RTCDS.

The captured images are evaluated by an image processing computer using OCR-software (optical character recognition), which then checks the recognized numbers for plausibility using the check digit (check digit = the last digit of the RTC-no.).

The numbers are stored together with the file paths of the associated images in a database or transfer file. The operator has the possibility to check the recognized numbers again in a correction mask on the basis of these images and to adjust them if necessary.

Technical Data / Features

  • increasing the degree of automation and thus the efficiency of the loading plant
  • recognition of rail tank wagon numbers when a train is in motion (Vmax less than or equal to 5 m/s)
  • data acquisition with 1 to 4 cameras in parallel (customer specification: accuracy of recognition)
  • evaluation by image processing computer (19" industrial PC)
  • recording of different rail tank wagons (4 or 8 axes) or the complete train (incl. locomotive) by axes counting and evaluation
  • night operation (LED)
  • operating temperature down to -60°C possible (heated cameras)
  • decentralization through the use of optical fibers (up to 100 km distance to control room/operator possible)
    • see figure 1
  • real-time image display (current live images of the cameras can be viewed by the operator on the control system computer)
  • video recording of the passing train
  • storage of rail tank wagon pictures and assignment of these pictures to the corresponding tank wagons
  • automatic plausibility check of the recognized numbers using the check digit (last digit of he the RTC-no.)
  • correction mask for visual inspection by the operator
    • see figure 2
  • ex-version possible
  • Storage of the associated tank wagon types (4- or 8-axes) in a database in order to be able to automatically assign the rail tank wagon type number (2-digit) when the rail tank wagon number (8-digit) recurs. Explanation: The RTC-no. is unique, i.e. if the same no. appears again, it is also the same rail tank car type.
    • see figure 3
      In the three RTCs shown, the number is in different places. Therefore, it is difficult to recognize these image processing points, because position and size can differ and are not standardized.

Fig. 1 – schematic representation of the system

Fig. 2 – extract from the correction mask

Fig. 3 – different positioning of the RTW-numbers

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