RFID-based AVI helps Wilcomatic Clean Up

Industrial washing specialists Wilcomatic enhances their specialist train washing solution with Coriel AVI

Coriel has partnered with Wilcomatic to enhance its train and rolling stock washing systems for use with East Midland Railway trains. The system uses a state-of-the-art Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) system to reliably identify trains as they approach and leave the washing unit. This case study details this solution’s implementation, challenges, and benefits, showcasing the technological advancements and partnerships that made it possible.

Introducing Wilcomatic

Wilcomatic is a specialist vehicle washing operation, established in 1967, who has grown to become the UK’s leading vehicle wash company. They provide car, truck, bus and rail washing systems to customers across the UK, Europe, Asia, America and Australia. Wilcomatic Rail specialises in the design and maintenance of wash systems for trains, trams and monorails. They’re globally accredited by Bombardier and supply wash systems and other associated depot equipment to some of the biggest organisations in some of the busiest locations around the world.

What is an AVI Solution?

Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) systems are designed to automate the process of identifying vehicles as they pass specific points. Using RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, these systems can quickly and accurately read unique identifiers attached to vehicles, such as trains, carriages and rolling stock. This is crucial for applications such as automated washing systems and maintenance operations, where precise identification of each train unit ensures overall operational efficiency and quality control, reducing errors and speeding up processes.

Challenges in Reliably Identifying Rolling Stock Using RFID

Trains typically operate in challenging environments which demand highly specialised RFID equipment. The abundance of metal can significantly interfere with RFID signals, reflecting and absorbing radio waves unpredictably. Additionally, electromagnetic noise (electrical systems, machinery, lights, motors, etc.) in railway environments can easily disrupt RFID communications. These challenges made it necessary for a sophisticated and robust solution to be designed to achieve the accurate and reliable identification required.

The Solution

The AVI system comprises components from our technology partners that are integrated tightly with the Wilcomatic systems via the corielEDGE middleware platform. Approaching trains are detected using sensors, triggering the main AVI RFID system. RFID tags located on the vehicles are then read at distances of over 3 meters (10 ft).
Passive RFID Tags encoded to GS1 standards allow the system to understand which vehicle or combination of vehicles is present, feeding this information to the Wilkomatic wash system. This information is used to select the correct wash cycles and ensure that every train and carriage is washed based on vehicle type and profile. The system records each vehicle movement, which allows a ‘wash’, ‘no wash’ decision to be made based on the last wash cycle, thus optimising the use of water and energy.

Data Integration with Wilcomatic

The data collected by the AVI system is translated into a business event before being shared with the Wilcomatic system through the corielEDGE middleware platform.
This seamless real-time integration allows the Wilcomatic system to optimise the washing process and ensure that each train is cleaned to the highest standards and only when required.

Compliance with GS1 Standards

Rail Industry Standards have been developed based on GS1 standards, which ensure interoperability and data accuracy across different systems. GS1 standards provide a framework for identifying, capturing, and sharing information. By adhering to these standards, we ensure that our systems integrate seamlessly with other platforms and technologies, providing consistent and accurate data.

Project outcomes

The implementation has brought several significant benefits to Wilcomatic and its customers. Being able to reliably detect all variants of vehicles as they arrive at the washing station ensures the systems are optimised to meet customer SLAs whilst reducing the need for manual records and user intervention and reduces the energy and resource demands. From a maintenance and reporting perspective, each individual vehicle wash cycle event is maintained in detail, which is essential not only for ensuring the train fleet looks its best but continues to operate efficiently well into the future.


Our technology partners played a critical role in the success of this project. Collaborating with these industry leaders ensured that we could provide a solution that meets the highest performance and reliability standards – today and well into the future. Working with systems that adhere to common standards will allow Wilcomatic to future-proof its investment and make future system expansion possible.

Works with class 158, 170, 222 and the new 810 vehicles.

Correct vehicle identification allows the right cleaning brush set to be fitted – ensuring the whole vehicle is cleaned correctly.

Huge savings in water and energy can be achieved by only washing vehicles when needed – based on their wash history.


The introduction of the Coriel RFID-based AVI system has significantly enhanced Wilcomatic’s washing systems for its customer, providing reliable and efficient vehicle identification that has Automated the identification of assets, automated data processing and exchange whilst providing the basis for improved asset management.

Through our technology partnerships with DPS, OnLogic, Siemens and Pepperl & Fuchs, we have delivered a solution that meets the high demands of modern railway operations, and by ensuring compliance with GS1 standards and providing seamless data integration through corielEDGE, we have helped Wilcomatic maintain its high standards of service and operational efficiency.