Dow puts location devices on US toxic railcars

24 September 2008 18:22  [Source: ICIS news]

ATLANTA, Georgia (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical will have its entire US Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) railcar fleet equipped by the end of the year with devices to monitor the railcars’ location and security status, a company official said on Wednesday.

Craig Casto, the global leader of Dow’s RFID-GPS-AutoID Technology Center, said the company was working with Savi Technology, a provider of RFID (radio frequency identification) systems, to have all 650 railcars equipped by the end of the the year. He spoke on the sidelines of the LogiChem chemical supply chain conference.

The monitoring system allows incorporates a global positioning system (GPS), satellite communication systems and sensors attached to railcars that allow Dow to demand or receive automated alerts of possible security breaches, unsafe temperatures and high impacts to the tank car, said Mountain View, California-based Savi.

The system also uses satellite images to allow the identification of the nearest first responder in the case of an emergency or a security threat.

Casto said Dow has been working on the system for two years.

The devices will notify Dow of unplanned openings of the railcar domes that could result in the release of toxic materials, Casto said.

The biggest challenge in developing the system was finding an independent power source for the devices. The devices’ power is supplemented with solar panels on the railcars, Casto said.

Dow also plans to eventually equip its flammable materials railcars with similar devices, Casto said.

The company is also working with the company SkyBitz to equip some truck tank trailers with location devices, Casto said.

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By: Brian Ford
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