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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Rail supplier news from Wi-Tronix, Vertex, Double Crown, Duos Technologies, Siemens and Protran (May 18)


Yesterday, Wi-Tronix LLC unveiled Violet™, a Locomotive Data Acquisition Recording System (LDARS), at its 5th annual conference in Chicago. The system, which Wi-Tronix officials believe will render all other LDARS obsolete, offers a major feature for each of a violet’s five petals: an onboard platform, live event recorder, continuous data fusion/analysis, visual intelligence and virtual reality. The company pursued the development of Violet because about 99 percent of collected data isn't being utilized and more could be done with data acquisition technology in the rail industry, Wi-Tronix leaders said at the conference. The system provides "ultra-efficient" live information in real time, “unprecedented” data fusion, one ultra-high-definition camera in a locomotive cab and video analytic capabilities, they said.

Vertex Railcar Corp. is making additional significant capital investments to expand its production capabilities to produce new types of rail cars with greater market demand, the company announced. Vertex previously focused on producing covered hoppers to move frac sand. However, due to depressed oil prices, new drilling activity is being delayed across the United States, which is reducing the need for frac sand and the demand for sand hopper cars to transport it, Vertex officials said in a press release. In response, the company is shifting production focus from sand hoppers to pursue new opportunities within the freight-car market, including aggregate and food service hoppers. Vertex also will produce food-grade tank cars in addition to its planned crude oil tankers. News of the investments come as the company has reportedly laid off 60 employees at its rail-car manufacturing facility.

Double Crown Resources Inc. will file several supplemental patent applications after receiving notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the primary patent for its interlocking, intermodal commodity transport system known as Translock², the company announced. These new applications will assist and speed the development of multiple Translock² commercial projects in varied industries, company officials said in a press release. Double Crown management also is working with engineers, advisers and legal experts to finalize language for the additional patens on the technology. This also will assist current efforts to secure international patent protection via the Patent Cooperation Treaty applications already filed for the system.

Duos Technologies Group reported a first-quarter 2016 net loss of $838,381 compared with a net loss of $752,424 during the same quarter last year. The resulting earnings per share remained flat at 1 cent, while revenue slipped to $1 million from $1.1 million a year ago. Also during this year's first quarter, the company penetrated "the market with its propriety technology solutions, more particularly in the rail industry," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gianni Arcaini in a press release. Duos Technologies also received a contract from a Class I railroad for its Proprietary Rail Inspection Portal as Image Portal for Mechanical Inspection. For the remainder of 2016, the company expects "robust year-over-year growth," Arcaini said.

European locomotive leasing company Railpool has ordered five additional Vectron type AC locomotives from Siemens. The units are to be delivered this year and will be operated in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania. To be built in Siemens' plant in Munich-Allach, Germany, the locomotives have a maximum output of 6,400 KW and a top speed of 124 mph. With the order, Railpool will expand its Vectron fleet to 19 units. The company has the option to order up to 10 additional locomotives.

Protran Technology has hired Clay Bunting as deputy director of field engineering and training. He will help the firm further develop its growing range of safety technology for track workers and inspection technology. Bunting spent the past 35 years as a transit and railroad professional at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), where he held senior positions including general superintendent of track and structures and director of capital programs and planning. He also served as chairman of WMATA's roadway worker protection task force.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/18/2016