Finnish Transport Agency (Liikennevirasto) Selects Vilant for Radio Frequency Identification System Implementation

Jun 18, 2012, 00:00 ET from Vilant

HELSINKI, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • This will be Europe's largest train identification system with passive RFID covering the whole of Finnish state rail network. Vilant  will install 120 specialized RFID Reader Units, and integrate them into Liikennevirasto's detector network.
  • The new, highly reliable railway tracking system aims to improve safety and service of operations on Finnish railroads. It provides real-time monitoring of trains passing at all speeds, up to 250 km/h, and even in the most remote areas utilizing the GPRS network.


Liikennevirasto is responsible for the management, development and maintenance of the Finnish railway network. To ensure that traffic and safety needs are met, Liikennevirasto keeps track of the condition of the rolling stock on Finnish rails through a network of detectors installed along the track. Full exploitation of the data registered by the fault-detection system enables preventive maintenance for improved safety of railway operations. This can be achieved with RFID. For example, linking data accurately to an over-heated axle bearing (i.e. "hot axle boxes"), the wagon and the train it belongs to at the time it happens. Therefore, the faulty part can be replaced before it breaks.


Finland has 5,919 kilometers of railways in use, of which 3,067 kilometers are electrified lines. According to Liikennevirasto, EUR 135 million a year is spent on track maintenance. The railway network's maximum axle weight is 25 tons, most lines enabling 22,5 tons. The speed limit for passenger trains is 220 km/h and 120 km/h for freight trains. To take full advantage of the network of detectors already in place, a system is needed to link the registered data with the affected rolling stock. A standard based solution would also have to enable interoperability to allow information to be easily analyzed and shared with train operators who, in turn, would be able to locate wagons and perform preventive maintenance and repairs where needed.


Over a one-year pilot, Vilant worked together with Liikennevirasto to provide a solution based on passive GEN2 RFID technology. Four Vilant RFID Reader Units were installed in different locations by the Finnish railroad. These sophisticated RFID reader units were used to collect information from the rail cars passing on the tracks, as well as, combine it with information from the detector system. They work over the mobile network and can be placed in remote locations without loss of accuracy. Even untagged wagons linked to RFID tagged trains are registered in the system and reported on.

"The results of the pilot were most satisfactory," says Seppo Mäkitupa, Senior Officer at Liikennevirasto. "Vilant was able to show that the RFID System is reliable and working with almost 100% accuracy. This convinced us that passive GEN2 RFID technology works and we can start to take advantage of the benefits it offers."

Vilant brings over ten years of experience in RFID and is one of Europe's leading RFID system providers. It provides an innovative turnkey solution for railroad infrastructure providers and train operators based on passive GEN2 RFID technology. The robust hardware product is highly reliable and resistant to all weather conditions. It includes embedded control software that enhances the functionality of off-the-shelf RFID readers. Hence enabling the delivery of train composition and detector information to customer's backend information system. In addition, Vilant Train Analyzer software combines and interprets the information from RFID reader units to determine all train cars passing through the read points (including those without RFID tags on them), their type, location, direction, speed and detected damage.

Liikennevirasto will be one of the world's first organizations in the industry to implement passive RFID technology. This is a new, more cost efficient way that also has a longer lifetime than active RFID technology. Last year, Vilant completed successfully the tagging of over 10 000 wagons and locomotives with GEN2 RFID and an RFID information system for VR Transpoint.


  • Real-time monitoring of rolling stock for accurate tracking and identification of the traffic on Finnish railroad
  • Full exploitation of the data registered by the fault-detection system that enables preventive maintenance for improved safety of railway operations. For example, it links data accurately to an over heated axle bearing, the wagon and the train it belongs to as the phenomena happens. Therefore, it can be replaced before it breaks.
  • Enables database formation and sharing of data with operators who own the trains. Hence, providing better service to operators. For example, it informs them about the exact location and arrival time of their trains.
  • Offers close to 100% accurate information system, even in remote locations.