RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification, Radio Frequency Identification) is a method of automatically identifying objects, which means that data stored in so-called transponders or RFID tags are read or written using radio signals. Any RFID system consists of a reader (reader, reader or interrogator) and a transponder (also known as an RFID tag, sometimes the term RFID tag is also used).
Most RFID tags consist of two parts. The first is an integrated circuit (IC) for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio frequency (RF) signal and some other functions. The second is an antenna for receiving and transmitting a signal. Already known RFID applications (contactless smart cards in access control systems and in payment systems) gain additional popularity with the development of Internet services.
And most recently, specialists of the company International Coding Technologies, Inc. (ICT) developed a wireless RFID device for use in the concrete industry. This solution minimizes the critical paths of the network schedules for building production and inventory management processes and is based on the use of RFID tags from UPM Raflatac (one of the world's leading suppliers of self-adhesive materials and a manufacturer of RFID tags). The device, TrackCon, offers a complete product identification and tracking system using a mobile RFID reader computer and a Cast-A-Code tag.
Traceability of the concrete (reinforced concrete) structure is ensured throughout its entire life cycle (from the manufacture of the structure to the demolition of the object in which it was used), including prefabricated and prestressed concrete structures, as well as architectural concrete casting. The Cast-A-Code Label is a combination of UPM Raflatac DogBone UHF Label and waterproof RFID molded inlay securely attached to a concrete structure.
Inventory management problems are long-standing problems in the concrete industry. The main ones are the problems of quality control of manual processes, the difficulty of confirming to the client the fact that the mixture composition he ordered is sustained accurately, as well as high logistics costs associated with reclamations and overloads. TrackCon, accompanying each design and providing real-time data on its location, allows precast concrete manufacturers to optimize all of their production schedules and product distribution processes.
RFID data is used to identify the structure, to solve problems related to determining its quality level, and to reliably guarantee the correctness of sending products to customers who ordered it. At the same time, the GPS coordinates of the supplied materials are automatically recorded and accurate bills are prepared. In addition, TrackCon allows concrete products manufacturers to provide contractors with excellent service, providing them with all the critical information they need to have when implementing large-scale construction projects. In addition, it helps to identify both the concrete and reinforced concrete structures themselves throughout their life cycle and thus maintain the structural integrity and safety of the objects.
In the process of working on TrackCon, ICT specialists had to overcome a number of technical obstacles, including creating a form that could be anchored (inlaid) into the concrete of the structure with the guarantee that RFID tags would be accurately read through the 12-inch layer of concrete. “After extensive testing, we came to the conclusion that DogBone, the ultra high frequency RFID tag from UPM Raflatac, provides a very high level of reading from the farthest distances, which allows us to offer our customers a really powerful RFID solution,” says ICT Vice President Tom Tilson .