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RFID Solution to Prevent Terrorism on Flights

Gate Gourmet Peru has launched a hybrid UHF and NFC system from Radical Solutions which ensures that all food-preparation knives, each with an affixed RFID tag, are detected in a locked cabinet, and that any removal and return of those knives is automatically identified and tracked by time, date and personnel ID, as well as by video.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Aerospace, NFC
Apr 27, 2018

Gate Gourmet Peru is deploying an RFID system at the Jorge Chávez International Airport, in Lima, intended to prevent knives from falling into the hands of potential terrorists. The ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and Near Field Communication (NFC)-based cabinet solution, designed to manage the kitchen tools used during food preparation, tracks each knife used to prepare inflight meals.

The system consists of tags attached to the knives, seven RFID-enabled smart cabinets in which the knives are stored, and software that identifies each time a knife is removed and later returned, as well as by whom. The technology is provided by Radical Solutions. An NFC reader in the cabinet also confirms the identity of any individual who removes a knife.

Gate Gourmet, the world's largest provider of catering and supply services for airlines, supplies flights with meals out of airports across the world, including at the Jorge Chávez facility. Radical Solutions, meanwhile, specializes in unique deployments, according to Jorge Camus Loredo, the company's CEO. Its customers typically require individualized, innovative RFID solutions. To meet their needs, says Hilda Samamé Jimenez, Radical Solutions' computer science engineer, the company employs an analysis team that works closely with customers to develop a solution.

In the case of Gate Gourmet, the problem was how to keep knives secured in the airport, where anything that could be a potential weapon must be closely monitored. The company wanted not only to track its knives, but also to understand who was responsible for them, and to ensure that no one ever took more than one knife from a locked cabinet at any given time.

Each chef is assigned a single knife that must be returned after use. "As there is no reliable record of this delivery and reception," Samamé Jimenez says, "the whereabouts or responsibility of the knife is not known." A knife, he explains, could find its way to an aircraft and be used as a weapon to commit acts of terrorism.

Gate Gourmet occupies kitchen facilities inside the airport, in which knives and other instruments are used. Two such locations are the cold-cooking and pre-processing areas. In the cold-cooking area, staff members use knives to chop the ingredients of salads and light snacks. Additionally, in the pre-processing area, raw vegetables, meat and other products are cut for the cooking of in-flight meals.

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