Save Time, Money, and Aggravation by Eliminating Yard Hunts
The yard check is the number one report used by the owners and operators of trailer yards. Every morning, the yard’s planner runs a report, showing the location of every asset managed by their operation. That intermodal chassis or trailer – is it out in the yard, on the road with a customer, or at a rail ramp or port?
Yes, the report shows a location … but is the asset still there? It might not be. Chassis and trailers move around a lot. And many reports are based on information that was manually entered whenever they got a spare moment by a group of very busy people.
Some yard operations expend thousands of man-hours every year, first to validate the identity and location of their assets and then to search for the ones that were mistyped, misplaced, moved, or otherwise not found where they were supposed to be.
It’s an expensive and time-consuming exercise that must be done … unless you find a better way. Maybe technology has answers. That can be expensive, too, maybe too expensive for your yard. But it doesn’t have to be.
What if you could have a low-cost solution that offers an alternative to both inefficient manual tallies and a super-expensive system loaded with high-end capabilities that you don’t need and won’t use? What if it just did the job that needs to be done, day in and day out, while saving time, money, and aggravation for you and your yard?
BlueCats GPS Beacon
We have a beacon for that.
BlueCats offers a Global Positioning System (GPS) Bluetooth® low energy (Bluetooth® Low Energy) beacon that provides, in real-time, the essential information you need to efficiently manage assets, improve dispatching, optimize maintenance, and increase turns. It works seamlessly with our flexible web-based software, Loop, to let you operate your GPS beacons for just pennies per asset each day. And Loop includes a user-definable rules engine that provides alerts and events to your yard’s operations software, either directly or through an application programming interface (API).
How it works
When a driver enters a yard with a chassis or trailer, a pre-attached GPS beacon provides access monitoring and control.
- If the yard has an automated gate operating system or optical detection solutions, the system can automatically associate the truck, the driver, or a container being hauled on the chassis to a single move
- If the gate is not automated, a guard may perform the association on a hand-held tablet, either manually or with a user-friendly optical character recognition (OCR) application.
If the chassis or trailer does not have a pre-attached GPS beacon, one is handed to the driver and then associated as described above. All of these procedures can also be performed remotely, without manual intervention at the gate.
Parking the chassis or trailer
Even when an automated application directs the driver to a specific location or general area, there’s no guarantee that those directions will be followed. However, if a GPS beacon is pre-attached, it will automatically inform the yard operations application where it was parked. If the operator was given a temporary GPS beacon upon entry, they simply attach it to the chassis or trailer that they disconnect from their truck, and its location is updated automatically.
Loading or unloading containers
Since the system knows what container is associated to a loaded chassis on arrival through the gate transaction or if the chassis is empty, the container handling equipment (CHE) can identify the chassis being serviced, providing job promotion or advancement to the yard operating system and automatically recording which container is being loaded or unloaded. This procedure allows the additional association of the container to the GPS beacon, which provides automatic location information in wheeled yards. And it doesn’t matter if this is done by over-the-road trucks, a hostler, or yard trucks.
If a chassis is unloaded and then stored in the yard for future use, the GPS beacon continues to provide location information to help drivers and maintenance personnel find it, as well as updating any moves to the yard inventory and the yard check report.
Leaving the yard
If a driver is assigned to pick up a chassis or trailer, they receive its exact location when they arrive at the yard. If the GPS beacon is temporarily mounted, the driver removes it when they connect to the unit, then deposits it at the gate when they exit.
As the driver approaches the exit, the GPS beacon associates the chassis to the truck, including any loaded container associated with the chassis in the yard. This can be done manually, with a beacon or radio frequency identification (RFID) tag on the truck or by optically identifying the truck using a technology such as a license plate recognition (LPR).
The GPS beacon is self-contained, with no external components to damage in the challenging chassis and logistics markets. It comes with its own battery, sealed in a rugged weather-proof, watertight, and impact-resistant case.
GPS beacon messages can be captured over a 30-acre area by a single proximity station mounted at a height of 25 feet on a light pole, building, tower, or vehicle-mounted on yard trucks or service vehicles. The proximity station can backhaul data to Loop over ethernet, wireless fidelity (WiFi), or long-term evolution (LTE) broadband. We also offer options for power-over-ethernet (POE), direct current (DC), and solar power.
You can run BlueCats’ beacon capture application on your own tablet or smartphone because our GPS beacon uses Bluetooth® Low Energy to broadcast its unique identity in conjunction with location data and status information.