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CribMaster Adds RTLS Functionality to Its Tool-Tracking Solutions

The Live Tracking module enables users of CribMaster's storage cabinets to identify the real-time location of assets and personnel, via AeroScout's Wi-Fi tags and software.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 18, 2013

CribMaster, a division of Stanley Black and Decker, is selling a new solution known as Live Tracking that combines CribMaster's existing passive RFID tracking technology for the industrial market with Wi-Fi-based active RFID tags and real-time location system (RTLS) software from Stanley Black and Decker's AeroScout division. With the solution in place, product manufacturers, mine operators and other businesses could not only track small tools or other items fitted with smaller, less expensive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive tags, but also obtain real-time location data regarding larger or high-value items fitted with AeroScout battery-powered tags. The passive UHF tags come from a variety of vendors, including William Frick & Co., using RFID chips from Impinj. The passive-tagged tools are stored within CribMaster cabinets with built-in RFID readers. With Live Tracking, users can also obtain location-based alerts related to active-tagged items, via CribMaster software.

More than a year ago, AeroScout and CribMaster began working together to create a solution that would combine AeroScout's RTLS Wi-Fi tags and MobileView software with CribMaster's passive RFID solutions for the industrial market. According to Mike Ratteree, CribMaster's project manager, industrial companies already use combinations of active and passive RFID systems. However, he says, those systems are typically independent—for example, one solution may track employees via active RFID badges, while another might monitor small assets or tools via passive RFID tags. By combining the two technologies into a single system, Ratteree says, companies would be able to do more. For instance, CribMaster software could trigger an alert to management in the event that an individual with an active RFID badge is located in a restricted area, and is associated with specific items containing passive tags that should not be in that area.

With Live Tracker, a CribMaster customer can identify not only who was issued a specific tool, but also that worker's location.
CribMaster set up a demo room containing a miniature installation of the technology, in order to demonstrate to the members of its integration project team how the technology might work. The company then spent the past year integrating its own software with the MobileView software. While CribMaster's software displays data about all items fitted with passive tags, and issues alerts, MobileView calculates active tags' locations and forwards that information to the CribMaster software.

The solution consists of AeroScout T2, T4 or T5 tags that could be affixed to assets, or built into staff badges. The active tags beacon their unique identifiers to Wi-Fi access points within an end user's facility. Passive CribMaster tags, which could be attached to tools or small equipment, would be interrogated via CribMaster readers mounted in tool cribs or built into CribMaster's AccuDrawer, AccuCab or AccuPort storage cabinets designed for industrial users.

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