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Utility Maintenance Workers Gain Efficiency With RFID
Hofor has already tagged 10,000 of its underground utility valve caps for an RFID system from Veriloc, which allows workers to read historical data regarding each valve before beginning maintenance tasks.
Aug 26, 2016—
Copenhagen utility services company Hofor has reduced the amount of time that its staff spends on data collection during water line maintenance by nearly 40 percent, by using an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification solution. The RFID system allows the firm to automatically identify a valve, access its history and input any work employees perform on it while in the field. Hofor has so far decided to equip about half of its 160,000 water line stop valves with RFID tags, for the purpose of tracking maintenance and repair work.
The use of RFID makes valve maintenance work easier and more accurate for Hofor's staff, says Ole Skytte, the company's section head. "We wanted our workers in the field to have correct data for maintenance." Skytte explains. "It was difficult for them to get historic data out in the field before we put RFID tags on all components." Once the valves are all tagged, the company will also use the technology to track tools and supplies at its aboveground facility. Tagging tools so that they can be tracked within the firm's main facility, he reports, will begin later this year.Pernexus Systems that manages maintenance records for utility companies. Pernexus and RFID firm Beta Technic have recently created a joint venture known as Veriloc Automation (derived from "locos," for location, and "veritas," the Latin term for truth) to provide RFID hardware and location-based software management.
Hofor is Veriloc's first RFID-based solutions customer within the utility sector, says Veriloc partner Peter Greenfort, the company's sales and marketing director. However, he notes, the technology company is currently in discussions with other utility firms regarding the possibility of installing the same solution on their utility lines and at their facilities.
Veriloc provides UHF RFID tags from multiple vendors, according to Christian Almskou, the company's managing director. It also supplies workers with a handheld RFID reader with a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone or tablet. The tablet or phone runs Veriloc's iOS or Android app, enabling maintenance workers to access and input data regarding the work being carried out on specific valves in the field. The app then forwards that data to Veriloc's content-management software, hosted on a cloud-based server.
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