Green Cargo has announced that it is to start testing digital automatic coupling (DAC) as part of a unique European collaboration to increase the efficiency of rail freight.
The equipped wagons will leave the maintenance depot in Eskilstuna for Luleå where Green Cargo will test different automatic coupling options in Swedish winter conditions. Tests will also be conducted in parallel in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Automatic coupling for trains was developed as early as the 1900s and is used on all new passenger trains. However, for freight trains wagons are still coupled and decoupled manually with screw couplings. Capacity, punctuality, working environment, efficiency and profitability for rail freight can be significantly improved through digital automatic coupling (DAC) and complementary digital solutions.
Several time-intensive and hazardous tasks can be automated using DAC, which also provides secure data communication and energy efficiency. It opens doors to new, modern logistics concepts and scores of digital applications.
“Introducing automatic coupling is necessary for reaching a cost efficiency that benefits the entire railway system,” explains Jan Bergstrand, coordinator for Shift2Rail’s freight program.
A standard has been developed by the European railway R&I collaboration Shift2Rail for a modular, multifunctional digital automatic coupling, which can subsequently be upgraded.
“Automation is essential for both increased competitiveness and production that enables more efficient freight transportation with longer and heavier trains. A modular solution, where the cost is split into stages, simplifies implementation. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to help develop a safer working environment and more efficient operations for the industry in Europe, not least when it comes to achieving climate goals,” says Annette Bernström, wagon manager at Green Cargo.