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Trailiner Automatically Manages Trucks, Trailers in Its Yard

The U.S refrigerated goods carrier is using QuikQ's RFID-enabled system to identify and authorize vehicles as they come and go, and to manage their refueling.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 08, 2016

Trailiner, a U.S refrigerated goods carrier, recently announced that it is employing radio frequency identification to prevent loading and transportation errors, while saving the cost of manning its yard gate 24 hours a day. The RFID system, provided by QuikQ, lets Trailiner manage yard access and prevent trailer loading and transportation errors using the same QuikQ RFID tags that its drivers utilize to refuel their trucks at stations owned by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, an Oklahoma-based company that operates a chain of more than 370 truck stops and convenience stores located in 40 states.

Trailiner provides refrigerated shipping services in 48 states. Its fleet of 200 tractors and 300 trailers hauls commodities ranging from produce and groceries to pharmaceuticals and retail goods. The company operates an active storage yard in Springfield, Mo., at which tractors come and go seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to pick up or drop off reefer units (refrigerated trailers).

For Trailiner's yard-management deployment, QuikQ installed an Impinj Speedway Revolution reader and mounted two Invengo reader antennas on a gantry above the carrier's front gates.
Around 2005, Trailiner began seeking technology that would provide security at its entry and exit gates, after a trailer loaded with goods was stolen from a nearby company's yard. Trailiner has staff onsite at all times, but did not want to hire an individual to sit at the gate 24 hours a day, so it turned to a solution dependent on active RFID tags to provide gate security. That system, installed in 2006, consisted of an active RFID tag attached to the interior of each truck's windshield, as well as readers at the entrance and exit gates to read those tags and, when appropriate, open the gate to allow a tractor to enter or leave. Trailiner also attached active tags to the tops of its trailers, so the company knew which goods were being removed from the yard at any given time. In addition, active tags were attached to the vehicles of all other logistics providers that visited its trailer yard.

In 2013, Love's began installing QuikQ's RFID-enabled Fuel Purchase System (FPS) at its stations to automate truck drivers' access to fuel pumps (see Love's Tries RFID for Automating Fuel Payments). Around that same time, Trailiner was experiencing the failure of many of its active RFID security gate tags due to batteries running out of power. The tags were fully sealed and, therefore, had to be discarded once their batteries died. Determining which tags had dead batteries and then replacing those tags was a major undertaking, says Amber Edmondson, Trailiner's president. In addition, she says, replacing active tags—which cost $24 to $30 apiece—was expensive, whereas a passive UHF tag costs about a dollar.

Many trucks' windshields already had a large number of stickers and other RFID tags on then, including those used for toll collection, and Trailiner preferred not to add to that clutter any more than necessary. So the company approached QuikQ to ascertain whether the existing passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags used for fuel-dispensing could also be utilized for gate access as well.

With its Fuel Purchase System, QuikQ installs a single Impinj Speedway Revolution reader, along with two Invengo reader antennas, under the canopy of a fueling station at a Love's truck stop. As a truck pulls into the fuel lane, the reader antennas capture the unique ID number encoded to a QuikQ UHF RFID tag attached to the vehicle's windshield tag, then forwards that information to the Love's point-of-sale system. Once that truck is authorized, the FPS software activates the fuel pump.

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