Trackmobile unveils new technology and products to the railcar mover industry.
By Kat Zeman
With product names like Viking, Hercules and Titan, Trackmobile has reigned in the railcar mover industry for more than 65 years. Its success has been partially driven by the company’s forward-thinking attitude and ability to cultivate an environment of continual innovation to stay ahead of the curve as the market changes and grows.
This year, Trackmobile unveiled two new innovative products and a telematics system to complement its product line. The LaGrange, Ga.-based company’s railcars come equipped with a long list of standard features, along with a growing list of optional enhancements.
One of the newest enhancements is a 360-degree camera system called Safe-T-Vue. Its 360-degree virtual view reduces blind spots, offers unparalleled visibility during railing and coupling and comes with proprietary railing video image support.
“Its four cameras are strategically placed around the unit,” explains Michael Young, Trackmobile’s North American sales and marketing manager. “But the images of the four cameras are digitally combined into one. This is important because these units are huge. It’s a breakthrough in the way you can see around the unit.”
The cameras feature a positioning system that allows the operator of the unit to mount it on the rail easier and faster, much like playing a video game, Young adds. “If you are an operator, there’s a lot of maneuvering,” he says. “So the easier the cameras are to use, the more efficient the operator will be, saving time and money. That’s really big when you’re in the transportation business … We made it a standard feature on every new unit we sell today. Safety is so important.”
Another one of the company’s new products with pending patents is Ad-Trac, which complements its Titan product. “It’s a third axle with a special proprietary tire that raises or lowers on the railhead,” Young says. “It helps provide up to 15 percent more tractive effort when the machine needs it. The hardest thing in any railroad application is to get going … This is also a first in the industry.” The unit automatically detects and activates when additional tractive effort is needed.
Though the technology is not uncommon in the industry, Trackmobile also introduced a new telematics system this year. It gives the user accurate and timely information on machine utilization, equipment health, impact detection and other valuable data. It also assists with proactive maintenance, service cost reduction, remote inspection and security. The remote telematics monitoring system alerts its user via e-mails and text in the event of an urgent maintenance matter.
“It’s a system that helps our customers understand the operational health of a Trackmobile remotely,” Young says. “It connects to a cellular network or a satellite and it communicates regular updates. Users can also log onto a website and see their unit’s location and operational health such as its utilization.”
The telematics and Safe-T-Vue camera systems are standard on current models but can be added to models built as far back as 2006.
Some of Trackmobile’s other standard enhancements include on-board train air control, built-in diagnostics and joystick controls. Popular options include the remote control, MAX-Trac traction control and MAX-Tran automatic weight transfer systems.
Trackmobile is a Georgia-based Marmon Group/Berkshire Hathaway Company. It is known as the founding innovator and leading manufacturer of the bi-modal railcar mover with more than 11,000 sold globally. The company created the railcar switching and movement category in 1948 as a solution to specific customer needs in railcar switching.