PJM and Voith develop a system for more efficient rail freight

A collaboration between Austrian company PJM and Voith aims to provide more efficiency and safety for rail freight operations. To this end, the internationally renowned system specialist for rail transport and the Heidenheim-based technology group will work together over the next few years to develop a system that combines coupler-assisted automatic train inauguration and the safe remote-controlled decoupling of freight cars with an automatic coupler.

We bring to the alliance its expertise as a leading developer and supplier of automation solutions for rail freight operations. With the patented monitoring system WaggonTracker, we are also a pioneer of digitalization in this segment. WaggonTracker combines monitoring and automation, offering a robust overall system that provides fleet operators with important real-time information about their freight cars and freight transport. This data can also be used to automate complex processes; for example, WaggonTracker also allows brake tests to be performed automatically. The platform has enabled numerous customers to significantly improve efficiency and achieve substantial cost savings.

For many years now, Voith has also been one of key innovation drivers in the rail technology segment. One example is Voith’s automatic freight coupler CargoFlex. The coupler developed by Voith has already demonstrated many times over that it can improve the competitiveness of freight transport and strengthen the market position of fleet operators. CargoFlex is the second cornerstone of the development alongside WaggonTracker.

For the new project, our two companies will pool their leading-edge capabilities in digitalization, automation and automatic couplers. The objective is to provide customers with a system solution that allows the automated use of the CargoFlex coupler, with a focus on remote-controlled decoupling processes. In combination with the solutions developed by PJM, this is intended to form the basis for highly digitized logistics management.

Alongside the technical challenges, the interoperability of the innovative system solution is a top priority for the development team and the key to marketing it on a broad basis. This is why the two companies aim to jointly manage the development of key components such as safety-related applications, communication tools or protocols. Moreover, it is planned to transfer the system into an industry platform during a subsequent project phase to make it available to other market participants.


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European Award: PJM is winner of the ERCI Innovation Award

PJM is the winner of the prestigious ERCI Innovation Award! PJ Monitoring GmbH was awarded “Best SME” on 26 October in Lille, France. The renowned award is presented by the European Railway Clusters Initiative (ERCI), which unites 16 railway clusters from 17 European countries. The prize is awarded by a European jury of independent railway experts from industry, research and public institutions. The decisive factor for the jury was the development of a digital overall system realizing the concept of intelligent freight wagons. The so-called WaggonTracker system is the first and only system worldwide that fulfils comprehensive monitoring functions and automates complex manual processes. "The ERCI award means a lot to us. We regard innovations and new technologies as problem solvers. Rail freight transport in particular has great potential for further development. Innovations are urgently needed to push freight transport on environmentally friendly rail and we have the digital know-how to do so. We are very pleased that European railway experts are awarding our innovative technologies!", say Martin Joch and Günter Petschnig, the two founders and CEO of PJM.

Strong Styrian railway industry

The submission for the renowned ERCI Award was organised by the mobility cluster ACstyria. "The ERCI Innovation Award is most significant prize of the European railway industry. It is awarded to companies that have successfully brought innovative products or solutions to the market. We are very proud that PJM won the category 'Best SME' in Styria. PJM has developed in only 15 years ago from a spin-off of Graz University of Technology to a stable SME. This shows, that research institutions and industry perfectly cooperate in Styria. We know how to get innovations on track," says Christa Zengerer, Managing Director of the Styrian mobility cluster. “ACstyria partner companies are not only world market leaders for bogies and tracks, but also experts in sensor and measurement technology. Due to over 50 companies and about 3.000 employees ranging from global corporations to highly specialised niche suppliers, Styria is a European centre for the railway industry.”

Award-winning WaggonTracker technology

PJM has already received several awards for the WaggonTracker, including the Austrian Mobility Award 2020, the German Innovation Award Winner 2020 and the Fast Forward Award 2019.


A milestone of digital rail freight: Product development of automated brake testing system completed

The completed automated brake test is a milestone for digital rail freight transport. The product development is completed. Without any doubt, the automated brake testing of rail freight wagons is one of the most important processes to make rail freight transport efficient and modern. “The serial operation is imminent. The system is now available and brings immediate, concrete effects for railway companies and a general impact for rail freight transport by gaining attractiveness”, says CEO Günter Petschnig. 

The automated brake test system was put on track years ago: Since spring 2018, the first pilot train has been in operational testing. Since March 2019, 105 wagons equipped with the digital system have been running in Switzerland. SBB Cargo leads the operational integration. Further nearly wagons haven been equipped with the automated system since April 2019. The brake testing system was designed and developed by PJM. The validation is expected to be finalised and the system is supposed to go into series production by the end of this year.

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Creating & shaping future: A video Portrait of PJM

Why is measurement technology fascinating? What sort of tests are performed for vehicles approvals? Digital rail freight - what's the meaning of the term? What's the connex of measurement technology and safety? Which exciting job profiles does measurement technology include? Get all answers on these and many more in our company's video portrait which recently was broadcasted in the Styrian news magazine by ORF. The video is part of the serial "Zukunftsmacher" (future creators). Watch it out! 


Credit: With courtesy of Die Industrie / IV Steiermark / ORF Steiermark


Technical article on the load monitoring system in the magazine "Der Eisenbahningenieur"

A deep insight into the automated load monitoring system is provided by the German magazine “Der Eisenbahningenieur”. Get more on the technical design of the LoadMonitor, benefits for the loading process and medium-term and longrun positive effects.

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"Der Eisenbahningenieur": An analysis of the automated brake test system and its benefits

The well-respected magazine "Der Eisenbahningenieur" provides a profound insight by Günter Petschnig and Christoph Lorenzutti: An analysis on requirements and benefits of a system for automated brake testing in rail freight. 

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ETR magazine reports on the load monitoring system

The German special interest magazine ETR provides a deep insight into the load monitoring system in use by Mercer & TRANSWAGGON. Timber is a "difficult" transport material, due to its varying volume.upDepending on weather conditions, the weight of wood can vary by up to 50 %. The load monitoring system ensures the optimum load capacity during the loading process.

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Interview by Eisenbahn.Blog: All about the autonomous measuring system

The Austrian Eisenbahn.Blog had interviewed Martin Joch and Günter Petschnig on the autonomous measuring system. What was the basic idea of the innovation? Which are the main fields of application? What to expect of this new measuring system? Find all the answers on these questions and many more in the interview (in German language):



Further information on the autonomous measuring system in English: 



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PJ Monitoring GmbH

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