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Sky Eye Railway Services, Inc.
"The railroad industry is constantly having to respond to the competitive challenge of other transport modes like trucks, which are implementing more real-time monitoring as a function of customer demand," says Bruno S. Pietrobon, vice president-business development for Sky Eye. With the rise of just-in-time service, accurate railcar tracking and ride quality monitoring are becoming necessities.
In the short term, Pietrobon says, the fault detection market will grow in coverage of such time sensitive freight as perishables, automobiles, and newsprint. To protect this freight as well as the railcars that carry it, Sky Eye fault detectors-which mount to cars, containers, or locomotives specified by the customer-identify such events as overspeed impacts, truck hunting, vertical impacts, or temperature/pressure changes. Data is transferred via satellite with a GPS report to Sky Eye's data management center, where it is processed and retransmitted to railroads or car owners via e-mail, fax, pager, or telephone. The system can also send alarms directly to clients if component or lading damage is imminent. Depending on the commodity and condition, the railroad can choose to inspect the load or car at the next stopping point, let the car continue on to its destination and risk possible damage, or stop the train to repair the car immediately. Activity reports allow maintenance departments to "allocate maintenance dollars to the appropriate assets," says Pietrobon.