Driven by continuing global demand for metals such as copper, the Netherlands is among many countries to struggle with the problem of trackside metal theft, which not only disrupts rail services but also causes substantial damage to signaling equipment, posing serious danger to passengers.
Under the new agreement, SelectaDNA forensic marking technology will be used by ProRail to reduce the number of thefts of metal rail equipment such as copper cable. ProRail will be deploying SelectaDNA's technology to mark trackside metals with the product's unique DNA signature, which is highly resistant to sunlight, withstands temperatures of up to 1,000°C and can be identified and analyzed on the spot. The unique chemical composition of the marking can be identified with a portable DNA scanner. The DNA marking is immediately visible under ultraviolet (UV) light and contains metal microdots with an engraved coding that can be analyzed with a small USB-microscope.
The detection and analysis technology can also be made available to scrap metal dealers so they can check for markings on metal being offered to them.