Mobility Solutions

Trade fair: transport logistic 2015 Bosch brings freight trains to the internet Condition monitoring and data transfer system for rail freight transportation

  • Connectivity: a way to optimize logistics processes and cut transportation costs
  • Connected freight cars make transportation faster and more efficient
  • Large-scale automotive series production technology for rail freight
  • Practical tests under way at Switzerland’s SBB Cargo and others
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  • May 05, 2015
  • Mobility Solutions
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press release

Abstatt / Munich – Bosch is making freight cars intelligent and connecting them to the internet. The technology supplier has developed a new condition monitoring system for rail freight transportation and will be presenting it to the public for the first time at transport logistic in Munich, the mobility and logistics trade fair taking place May 5-8, 2015. The hardware attached to the railcars as part of the system is from Bosch large-scale automotive series production. Sensors supply data such as the precise position of a railcar, or the temperature in the storage area. This data is transferred to a server and evaluated. “With our system, a freight train becomes a digital and intelligent mode of transportation. In this way, we help trains get to their destinations faster and more efficiently, and we also cut transportation costs,” says Bernhard Bihr, president of Bosch Engineering Group. The first freight cars – for example, those at SBB Cargo in Switzerland – were equipped with the system in February 2015, and now its diverse functions are being tested and refined in fleet operations. Bosch engineers can use the data collected to perfect the system as it heads into series production at the end of 2015.

Networked technology for efficient logistics
Germany’s almost 40,000 kilometers of railway track moved about 374 million metric tons in 2013, mostly heavy freight such as steel, gravel, and coal. And these figures are going up all the time. Freight trains are also the means of choice for transporting cars to major seaports. However, today’s freight cars don’t have their own energy supply or their own sensors. This is because any technology used on trains has to be particularly robust and simple, due to the high demands placed on it in terms of vibration, temperature, dirt, and moisture. To make the freight cars part of a connected logistics chain, Bosch will equip them with an intelligent condition monitoring system. “We are making freight cars part of the internet. This is how we can help increase the transparency of the logistics chains linking rails, roads, and waterways and make the increased volume of freight transportation easier to manage,” explains Bihr.

Digital functions open up new possibilities
The new system gathers a considerable amount of information while the train is in motion and transmits it to a server. With this system, Bosch is creating digital functions that add value. Thanks to the transmitted GPS position of each railcar, customers always know where their goods are. They can use the data to determine their location more precisely, for example, or to show how noise-differentiated track access charges were calculated. Temperature sensors provide valuable information about conditions during transport, such as maintaining the cold chain. Networked freight cars recognize vibrations, like those incurred by shunting, which can damage the railcar, the freight, or both. Once the digital information is integrated into IT systems to control logistics processes, dispatchers can better schedule freight cars and use their capacity more efficiently. What’s more, train information is produced automatically and business processes are automated. The system also records how many kilometers the railcar has traveled in order to better predict and carry out maintenance, depending on distance traveled and the railcar’s condition.

One-stop provider of hardware and software
Weighing just 700 grams, the system consists of compact hardware from Bosch’s large-scale automotive series production. It features numerous integrated and attached sensors for temperature, vibrations, and more. An integrated data transmission connects the system to the internet. Data is transmitted to servers to be evaluated, presented in a data portal, and integrated into the customer’s business processes. Because it was developed as a retrofit solution for existing freight railcar fleets, the system has its own autonomous energy supply in the form of an integrated battery with a lifetime of up to six years. However, it can also be installed as original equipment while the freight car is still in production.

Development partner for the rail industry
Bosch Engineering offers comprehensive systems and components tailored to customers’ needs in the areas of speed sensing, environment sensing, train-driver assistance systems, engine management, and exhaust treatment for rail vehicles. The Bosch subsidiary’s specialists make full use of Bosch’s development expertise and proven large-scale series production technology. For each of the functions, the engineers develop the design to match specific applications and specific customers, adapt the sensor software accordingly, and offer support during the entire system’s testing and approval phase. Employing radar technology in rail vehicles makes it possible to implement functions such as determination of ground speed and detection of overhead lines. Bosch Engineering also offers rail powertrain development services for engine management and exhaust treatment. These systems and components increase safety and make it possible to reduce operating costs while achieving better performance with low emissions.

More information online:
Collision warning system for light rail vehicles
Bosch Engineering – systems provider and development partner for the railway industry

Bosch Engineering GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH and is head-quartered in Abstatt, Germany. As a systems development partner to the automotive industry since 1999, the company with its more than 2,000 associates offers development services for powertrains, safety and convenience systems, and electrical and electronic systems – from the original concept to series production. Specialized in electronics and software, it draws on Bosch’s proven large-scale series production technology to develop tailored solutions for a wide variety of applications in passenger cars, commercial vehicles, off-highway and recreational vehicles, and in rail applications, ships, and industry. Bosch Engineering GmbH also coordinates all the Bosch Group’s motorsports activities.

Additional information can be accessed at

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

Further information is available online at and,

PI8900 - May 05, 2015

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