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Used Batteries Tracked to Disposal
Can/U.S. Enviro-Energy employs RFID to track the new and used batteries it delivers to telecommunications companies.
Jun 18, 2008—Canadian logistics and engineering company Can/U.S. Enviro-Energy, which specializes in supplying new industrial-size batteries for the telecommunications industry, as well as in disposing of used ones, is employing passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to track its battery inventory, and to provide customers with visibility into the disposal of their batteries. The RFID system, designed by Montreal-based RFID research and development firm Academia RFID, utilizes Motorola interrogators and tags, as well as operation management software from Ship2Save.
Telecommunications companies across Canada use banks of large batteries that provide consistency in power for their telecom customers' services when power outages or losses occur. Depending on the nature of the reduction or loss, some batteries may be used while others may not unless the outage is long-term.
To track the various batteries' status, telecom inspectors intermittently check their functionality. When the inspectors discover batteries approaching the end of their lifespan, a telecommunications company can contact Can/U.S. Enviro-Energy, which is responsible for removing old batteries and delivering them to recycling depots for dismantling, then either disposal or recycling. Can/U.S. Enviro-Energy also sells and delivers new batteries to companies, according to Alain Perreault, the logistics firm's general manager.
Until recently, the system was largely manual and paper-based. Can/U.S. Enviro-Energy would order new batteries after receiving a notice from a customer that such were required. The logistics firm stores the new batteries in its warehouse in Lachine, Quebec, and previously tracked those it received and delivered on paper forms stored in file folders. The company then scheduled a time to deliver the new batteries and haul the old ones out utilizing large dollies and trucks designed to carry hazardous waste.
When the firm removed an old battery, one of its drivers (who have been trained in hazardous waste handling) transported it to a recycling depot and had paperwork completed indicating where and when the battery was disposed of. Once the customer received a copy of that paperwork in the mail, verifying the battery's disposal, the telecom company could then apply for financial compensation from the Canadian government for properly discarding the batteries. This system, however, had several shortcomings.
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