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With RFID, Malaysian Logistics Company Gets Fewer Blowouts
Lee Ting San Group has begun attaching rubber-encased EPC Gen 2 tags to tires on some of its trucks, to help it track inspection and maintenance.
Jan 12, 2011—Since Malaysian logistics firm Lee Ting San (LTS) Group began trialing an RFID-based tire-management system a year ago on some of its 400 trucks, the company has found that tagged tires are better maintained and have fewer blowouts than those without RFID tags, according to Ahilan Thiyagarajah, the managing director of Auto RFID Solutions, which installed the system. The tire-management solution, known as e-Tyre and provided by Malaysian RFID company FEC International, consists of an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID patch tag, a tire probe for determining a tire's tread depth and air pressure (the patch tags and tire probes are manufactured by Translogik), a handheld RFID reader and e-Tyre software.
The company began testing the technology in January 2010, during a trial involving three 14-wheeler trucks, for a total of 42 tires. LTS' staff permanently attached an RFID patch tag (an RFID inlay encased in protective layer of rubber) to the exterior of each tire, on the sidewall facing the center of the vehicle. Auto RFID Solutions provided training on how to attach the tags via an adhesive. The unique ID number encoded to each tag is then read using an RFID-enabled AT870 RFID handheld computer made by All That Identification (ATID), and that ID is linked, in the e-Tyre software installed on LTS' back-end system, with tire information input into the handheld reader, such as brand and model numbers. Once the tire is installed on a truck, workers use the handheld to read the tire's tag, then input such information as the truck's vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate number, make, model and depot name, as well as its odometer reading, to link the vehicle to that particular tire.
According to Ahilan, Lee Ting San Group is the largest company in Malaysia to provide general logistics, container haulage and warehousing services, with several locations in Penang and northern Malaysia. Like most logistics firms, LTS manually tracks its truck tire maintenance, with inspectors testing pressure and tread, manually writing down the results, and carrying out maintenance when necessary, again recording the details on paper. Companies with large fleets often find it difficult to manage details regarding the condition of all of their tires. As a result, tires might not be properly maintained, thereby leading to safety issues, higher fuel costs (if air pressure is low, for example) or a short tire life.
The RFID system has solved these problems, Ahilan says, by providing the company with alerts whenever tires are due for maintenance, as well as an electronic record of each inspection and its results. LTS had hoped to eliminate the risk of errors during data collection, he explains—such as the incorrect recording of a tire's ID number, or the omission of important details—and to increase visibility into whether the firm's tires were being properly maintained and inflated. The company also hoped to reduce the number of blowouts resulting from improperly inflated tires.
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