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Passive RFID Tracks Changes in Structural Micro-Cracks

Dai Nippon Printing has developed a passive adhesive sheet with a built-in Identiv UHF RFID tag, to detect when a crack to which a sheet is affixed widens, and to transmit that event when interrogated.
By Claire Swedberg

If a crack were to widen, the rubber tag would stretch with that movement, but the tamper-resistant Identiv inlay would be damaged—the antenna's contact with the chip would be broken. Such a break can occur if a crack widens even by a few millimeters.

With the crack-detection system in use, inspectors will still arrive onsite as they always have, but in this case, they would bring a UHF RFID handheld reader with them. An inspector waves the reader within about 1 meter of a tag. If the tag has been damaged by a change in the crack, it will not respond in the expected way to interrogation by the reader. Mueller likens it to sending an X with the ID number if it is operating properly, and an O if the antenna has been compromised.

The make and model of RFID reader that will be used with the tag has not yet been determined, according to DNP. Thus far, testing has found that the tag can be read at a distance of about 1 meter, though in the future Identiv expects the technology could accomplish up to a three- or ten-foot range. To date, the material in the construction environment makes longer read ranges impossible. Therefore, an inspector must still come close to the tag, but need not use the measuring tools, or record data manually, as he or she would have done in the past.

The product is expected to be commercially launched in early 2018. "We envisage to introduce this solution in Japan first," the DNP spokesperson says. "And then we intend to consider developing the overseas market after studying their regulations, inspection standards, etc."

Identiv conducted some modification to its tamper-resistant inlay to ensure it could detect the widening of a crack by as little as a millimeter, Mueller reports. "We've been happy to leverage the relationship we have developed with DNP," he says, "to be able to contribute to this technology."

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