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Airline Food Provider Uses RFID

To speed its delivery trucks through security gates at New York's JFK Airport, catering company DO & Co deploys an active-tag system.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 26, 2005Food service companies at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport in New York have begun using an AXCESS International's RFID system, known as ActiveTag, to improve efficiency and security when entering the airport. DO & Co. New York Catering Inc. is the most recent food service company to utilize the ActiveTag system there. The food service companies, as well as airport fuel trucks, use the wireless system to pass vehicles through security gates quickly and safely. DO & Co. began using the RFID system in March.

By using the wireless service to access security gates at the airport, truck drivers can now pass through more quickly without having to leave the truck or even come to a complete stop, says Allan Griebenow, the president and CEO of AXCESS, which is based in Carrollton, Texas. Airport service companies such as food providers operate their own gates that access the airport runway. Adjacent to the airport, food providers have facilities where they load the truck with food to be transported to an airplane. Drivers then must pass through security gates operated by their company, often causing a backup of trucks waiting to access or leave the airport runway. The RFID system was installed to address that backup. "In this way we can provide a solution that improves efficiencies as well as security," Griebenow says.

Allan Griebenow
Food service trucks carry AXCESS's 315 MHz active tag either in the cab or under the hood, Griebenow says, places where the tags would be difficult to locate and remove or disable. When a tagged food service vehicle approaches the security gates, it passes a 128 kHz underground activation loop, which sends a signal that wakes up the tag. The tag then transmits its ID number as well as the gate number that the truck is authorized to pass through. A 315 MHz receiver at the gate captures that transmission, which verifies that the vehicle ID and gate numbers match those in a database and then signals the gate controller to open the gate for that vehicle. The receiver can be connected via an industry standard interface known as the Wiegand protocol to existing security alarm equipment, as is the case with DO & Co.'s deployment, or connected to a company's existing corporate network. The ActiveTag system can also be used to trigger security video recording and live remote video transmission, although DO & Co.'s deployment does not.

According to Griebenow, vehicles can accomplish this transaction without coming to a stop. Prior to the deployment of DO & Co.'s ActiveTag system, each of the company's drivers had to first get out of the truck at the security gate, use a keypad to manually enter a numerical code and then drive the truck through the gate as it opened.

In addition to serving two catering companies and an airplane fuel provider, an AXCESS RFID system is also in place as a tagging and tracking system for personnel in airport warehouses. In the case of the fuel provider, the system also monitors who is operating the fuel truck (the driver carries an ID badge embedded with an AXCESS RFID tag).

The AXCESS vehicle ActiveTag system was installed by Digital Watchguard, a security and digital surveillance company.
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