Chris Forgione is Director of Asset Tracking at OATSystems, and has been involved in enterprise RFID process automation projects at numerous Fortune 100 Chemical, Heavy Equipment, Aerospace and Defense Manufacturers. OATSystems’ software, the OAT Foundation Suite, is the most widely-deployed RFID platform in the industry. A division of Checkpoint Systems, (NYSE:CKP) OATSystems is located in Waltham, MA, with development, services and sales resources around the globe.
What do you predict for the RFID market in 2012?
The trend we see is that RFID is no longer being driven by the IT department, but by business leaders. We are seeing greater adoption for RFID in Manufacturing, integrated with LEAN/Six Sigma initiatives, as industrial firms look to drive more operational efficiency. And there is new emphasis on risk mitigation – for instance, many RFID Tool Tracking projects are deployed not just to reduce costs, but also to avoid quality errors, foreign object debris (FOD) and regulatory fines. Xerafy ruggedized tags are enabling us to discuss RFID with Heavy Industrial customers that we couldn’t talk to before.
What are the main applications where OAT products are finding the most success?
Many of our customers use enterprise ERP, Program Management and Field Service Management applications to run their business. They started out with RFID tests and pilots and came to us when they needed an “industrial-strength” solution to manage enterprise data while integrating smoothly with the system of record. We are also seeing many follow-on projects from existing deployments – we may have implemented RFID for Work-in-Process (WIP) tracking and we are asked to bring RFID tracking to adjacent processes, such as tooling tracking or materials management.
What do you find most challenging about your business?
Every challenge brings opportunity, right? We learn a lot from our customers. Even if they are in the same industry and business function, what amazes me is how different some of their business processes are – there is no cookie-cutter Work-in-Process deployment, for example. So we need to figure out the best way to mesh RFID visibility with customers’ existing processes to make them better. And that makes us better at what we do.
Xerafy recently participated with OATSystems in a webinar on extreme RFID. For more information, please register on OATSystems' website to download the webinar and slides in addition to a complimentary RFID deployment guide and tag guide.
This year international customers out of the standard industry started a lot of new projects where industrial UHF RFID is required. More and more potential customers active in hazardous area are discussing applications where ATEX certified UHF RFID technology is appropriate.
What is the ATEX testing you performed on Xerafy XII series tags?
TECTUS Transponder Technology GmbH as one of a few ATEX certified RFID companies operating on the basis of the ATEX QS system does all kind of ATEX testing related to the ATEX rules requirements. The ATEX regulations apply to all equipment intended for use in explosive atmospheres. In very broad terms, there are three preconditions for the ATEX directive to apply: the equipment a) must have its own effective source of ignition; b) be intended for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere (air mixtures); and c) be under normal atmospheric conditions. Because during read or write operation even passive TAGs are part of a combined system being approached by the RFID reader device the system has to be EX certified.
What are the main applications where EX certified RFID products are used and provide technical and commercial improvement of processes?
EX certified RFID products are mainly used in Chemical and Petro-Chemical plants and in the on- and offshore oil and gas industry to make logistics, maintenance and asset management operations effective and accurate. Other fields are the improvement of processes in the food industry where dust explosion can appear.
What do you find most challenging about your business?
Being in the RFID business more than 16 years and there is still exciting interest in RFID and nearly every day new ideas for RFID applications come up. The everyday challenge is to keep and improve the level of customer satisfaction by offering the right RFID TAG and Reader products and services to the market.
Udo W. Doege is the Director of TECTUS Transponder Technology GmbH. TECTUS, located in Moers, Germany, is the leading ATEX RFID system component supplier of readers and transponders (TAGs) and specialised expert company for applications in industry and logistics, maintenance, waste management, ATEX, security & access, and animal identification. TECTUS ATEX RFID technology is already successful in use in bigger quantities in refineries, in Chemical parks and in the oil- and gas industry. Many of theTop 100 companies worldwide have been supplied by TECTUS RFID technology.
1. What are tag packaging solutions?
Tag packaging is customizable for the unique applications and product requirements. Industrial applications may include a range of tag carriers that protect Xerafy’s RFID tags from severe conditions where unprotected RFID tags could never survive. Packaging solutions also support numerous attachment methods, from welding and banding, to cinching, bolting and riveting. Unique colors, private labeling, critical human readable data, and encapsulation materials are all supported by Xerafy and through our partner network to provide a catalog of packaging solutions that allow RFID tags to adapt to the requirements of the application.
2. What types of tags carriers are available?
There are many different types of tag carriers available. Form factors from Holland 1916 include pipe tags, chain tags, the DataCinch, nameplates, RFID-enabled bolts and more. Collaboration with the customer to create new form factors is also very common.
Many customers are stuck on trying to find the right tag. Typically, customers get pushed to make changes to their parts or processes in order to work around the tags. Xerafy is committed to adapting the RFID tags for the customer needs. The Xerafy –iN family is embeddable to provide a range of encapsulation solutions such as stainless steel, aluminum sheet work, injection molding, steel casting, domed decals and more. These highly customizable packaging solutions help protect the tag in the harshest environments and provide for a quick and easy tag deployment.
4. Do RFID tags work inside metal?
Xerafy’s patented and award winning iN Series RFID tags provide the option of flush mounting RFID tags inside metallic assets without having to worry about the impact to read-sensitivity and performance, opening the door to new and completely automated inventory tracking for metallic items. Embedding the iN Series tag ensures durability and eliminates environmental concerns like rain, snow and sun that often keep other vendors tags from functioning.
5. How do I embed an RFID tag?
Xerafy has created a step-by-step Embed Installation Guide listed in our web resources to provide suppliers and users the best mounting techniques for optimal read performance. The Xerafy iN Series RFID tags can be embedded during pre or post-production of metallic assets. A quicker and more repeatable technique is using Holland1916 DataWedge embedded with the Pico-iN or the iN PLUS. Simply dab adhesive on the bottom of the DataWedge and hammer into the recess and your done.
6.When would I need tag packaging solutions?
Tag packaging solutions are ideal for harsh industries like oil and gas, construction and embedded applications where a robust RFID solution is required to meet extreme requirements. Other industries may require specially designed attachments to fit to their assets and process.
7. What are the available attachment methods?
Xerafy typically provides a strong adhesive to mount tags. The Micro XII tag has options for rivet holes and the Data Trak tags include an option for hang clip. With custom packaged tag solutions, attachment to an asset can include welding, chaining, clipping, cinching, bolting, riveting, hanging and belting just to name a few.
8. How rugged are these tag carriers?
The tag carriers are very rugged and can be custom made to the application requirements. Encapsulation solutions when combined with an iN Series embedded tag, has resulted in rugged RFID-enabled tag solution that survive up to 250C or 482°F and remain impervious to environmental conditions, high impact and degradation.
9. Can I request a custom RFID tag solution?
Certainly, Xerafy would provide you with a custom RFID tag solution working with packaging specialists such as Holland1916 to deliver a solution for your application requirements.
10. How do I purchase custom tag packaging solutions?
Selecting an RFID tag is a tough task and can make or break your RFID application. We want to help making the RFID tag selection easier so we have designed a tag product guide, best practices, and frequently asked questions FAQ to help end users quickly choose the right tag for their use requirements.
With our growing product portfolio, we developed the Xerafy Tag Product Guide. With this Tag Product Guide, someone looking for a specific feature, say a tag that can resist high temperature 482F or a tag that has a user memory of 8K bytes, can find exactly which tags they need on one table. Xerafy strives to provide you with a one-page summary of all the key features of our XII series, iN series, Trak series, and XL series products.
If you register for our webinar, Extreme RFID: Tracking Machinery & Tooling in Rugged Environmentson October 13 at 1PM EDT, you will also receive our latest Asset Tracking deployment guide and Best Practices Tag Guide at the completion of the webinar. The Best Practice Tag Guide provides recommendations for application specific tag deployment, eliminating false reads, and various mounting techniques. For more Information and registration click here: http://www.oatsystems.com/OAT_Xerafy_Extreme_RFID/
Last, but not least, Xerafy will soon be releasing a series of FAQs, a compilation of frequently asked questions and answers to provide you with quick information about the various aspects of the technology, our product or market application. Please do not hesitate to send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org to add to the FAQ list.