Alberta start-up forging tracks in the transloading industry

By Michelle Kliment, Marketing Coordinator at TRTech

If you haven’t yet heard about TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG), you soon will.

TRIG-Horizontal-01 copyA successful Alberta start-up is bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) to the rail industry through a new product called the TRIG XLOAD. The TRIG XLOAD is an industrial IoT platform that increases the visibility of products being transported inside a tanker rail car. Since it began operations in 2012, TRIG has been working towards the goal of developing and commercializing modern technology to solve fundamental rail issues related to transloading logistics and operations, along with the health, safety, and environmental issues that are prevalent in this industry. The TRIG XLOAD sensor is nearing completion of its safety certification and is positioned to be the first electronic sensor sanctioned by the American Association of Railroads to travel on moving cars.

How does the product work?

TRIG’s patented sensor uses radio frequency technology to automatically monitor volumes, levels, and ambient temperatures of products inside of closed rail cars. Relevant product data is transmitted to 1) Operators working at the loading and unloading terminals, 2) Schedulers and logistics personnel at regional offices, and 3) Managers and directors at head offices.

What kind of customer is TRIG focusing on?

This technology is well suited to the Canadian market. According to Peter Stunden, VP Sales & Marketing at TRIG, their “focus is on all customers who load, ship, and unload primarily liquid products using the 380,000 tanker rail cars in North America.” One TRIG prospect uses 1,500 tanker cars to ship 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day from its trans loading terminal in North Dakota. Concerned with the residual amount of crude oil (i.e. 20 barrels) in each of their rail cars before they start loading, this company’s staff normally loads rail cars to a maximum level of 95%, to leave a significant margin of error. But with the TRIG XLOAD sensor mounted in each rail car, the amount of residual heel left inside the rail car can be monitored, allowing the car to be filled to a higher level, such as 98%. By reducing the impact of the residual heel and maximizing the fill levels, this company will reduce their shipping costs by $3.5 million dollars annually.

What can TRIG attribute its success to?

TRIG is a union of three companies: PGA M2M, an M2M technology systems integrator providing solutions in the Western Canadian energy industry; Simba, a company that designs, builds, and operates rail trans loading facilities in North America; and TRTech, a company specializing in wireless and sensing technology. TRTech has incubated TRIG’s start-up by providing access to critical resources, test equipment, infrastructure and valuable networking opportunities. The collaboration of these three companies has provided immeasurable resources and knowledge to TRIG, allowing it to introduce a high quality product to market in a timely fashion.

Where does TRIG expect to be in the near future?

TRIG expects to grow to $40 million in revenue selling its technology and online subscription services by 2020.

For more information on TRTech’s start-up resources, please visit: https://www.trtech.ca/