Testing of automatic coupling device is already underway on the railway. It is tested on DB and GATX cars.

Testing of automatic coupling device is already underway on the railway. It is tested on DB and GATX cars.
photo: https://www.gatx.eu/news/detail/test-start-for-the-digital-automatic-coupling-dac/Digital Automatic Coupling for Europe
14 / 12 / 2020

The use of an automatic coupling device in railway transport is being tested by the DAC4EU consortium (Digital Automatic Coupling for Europe). At present, there are 12 DB and GATX tanks operating on the European infrastructure, on which automatic coupling devices has been already mounted. The research project will continue until 2022.

A total of 12 wagons from DB Cargo and GATX were equipped with automatic coupling device first. Prototypes of automatic coupling devices were placed on the cars. Subsequently, an extensive testing program was launched. Each coupling device had to pass 440 separate tests. Within them, the automatic coupling device is tested at different speeds, and tests are also carried out in a climatic chamber.

Six companies have won the contract for the "DAK Demonstrator for Rail Freight Transport" research project provided by the German Federal Ministry of Transport (MBVI). These come from Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. The amount that the German Federal Ministry of Transport has invested in this research is 13 million euros. The testing project started in autumn 2020 and will continue until 2022.

Members of the DAC4EU consortium, which is currently testing automatic coupling device in normal operation, are both logistics companies and wagon holders. The wagon holders companies which are members of the consortium are: DB Cargo, Ermewa, GATX, Rail Cargo Austria, SBB Cargo and VTG.

Until now, classic hand-connected screw couplings have been used in Europe. DAK would make it possible to automate this process. This would ensure that there is a continuous power supply between all cars. DAK can also significantly increase rail freight capacity. As a result, it can also have a very positive effect on the climate situation.

This project aims to test and subsequently approve the DAK digital automatic coupling device for rail freight. This is another step towards digitization and automation in rail transport.

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