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Are Any Canadian Companies Using RFID?

Posted By RFID Journal, 11.20.2013

Can you please identify some firms that have already deployed the technology?

—Name withheld


Dominion, one of Canada's largest energy producers and transporters, piloted an RFID system to track the receipt, storage and use of structural steel on a construction site (see RFID Tracks Assets at Canada's Oil Sands). I do not know if the company has yet made a decision regarding whether or not to roll out the technology.

Ford Motor Co. of Canada uses an active RFID system at its 5.4-million-square-foot assembly complex in Oakville, Ontario, to monitor the whereabouts of trucks being assembled (see Ford Canada Adopts RFID System to Keep Parts Flowing).

Nabors Canada, a land-drilling product and services provider, utilizes RFID to help it maintain and manage the equipment on its drill rigs, located at oil and gas wells across Canada. With the system in place, management can know where its assets are located at any particular time, as well as whether or not they have been maintained and inspected, and when this occurs (see Drilling Company Taps RFID Benefits).

Air Canada Cargo has been exploring a method for using RFID that would provide the infrastructure and applications necessary to perform real-time tracking of shipments with minimal human intervention, as well as provide end users with a single interface, and send tracking information to postal authorities (see Air Canada Cargo Pilots RFID to Track Cargo and Mail).

The intermodal transportation services arm of the Canadian National Railway (CN) used an RFID system to reduce congestion at its intermodal freight transportation terminal in Brampton, Ontario. In 2006, the terminal introduced an RFID-based chassis-rental system that not only freed up traffic at the facility's cargo-container storage area, but also led to improvements in CN's chassis-management process. These improvements, combined with a reliable billing system, have generated a return on CN's RFID investment to the tune of a half-million Canadian dollars (see Canadian Railway Sees Huge ROI From RFID).

Levinoff-Colbex, a meat processor, implemented an RFID tracking system after a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, was discovered in Alberta in 2003. To ensure traceability from the slaughterhouse through the meat-processing plant, Levinoff-Colbex deployed an RFID tracking system that was fully operational at the end of 2008. The traceability solution enables the company to quickly identify and recall any potentially contaminated parts within its facility, and to provide age and other certifications required by some foreign countries. The system could also minimize the scope of a product recall, thereby reducing costs and protecting the company's brand and reputation (see Canadian Beef Processor Deploys RFID for Food Safety)

Nelson Lodge at Revelstoke, a ski area in British Columbia, is now in its second year of operation. Its RFID-based guest-room access system provides benefits to guests and hotel operations staff alike. The plastic cards that Nelson guests receive upon check-in resemble the magnetic-stripe cards issued by most hotels, but lack a mag-stripe. These cards can be used to open doors, and the hotel's goal was to allow guests to also use them to access lifts and obtain meals, as long as they purchased a package deal (see At Nelson Lodge, RFID Will Unlock More than Doors).

Horizon Utilities Corp., an Ontario-based hydropower distribution company, utilizes an RFID-powered fuel-management system to enable and track its vehicles' fueling. Horizon Utilities took the system live in November 2009 (see Electric Company Gases Up on RFID).

Bombardier Transportation, the rail equipment division of Bombardier Inc., has developed an RFID-enabled rail-worker safety solution. The company demonstrated the system last year in Atlanta, Georgia, in partnership with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (see Atlanta's Transit Authority to Test Bombardier's Rail-Worker Safety System).

Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), the Montreal regional transit agency, which manages five commuter train lines, two regional bus routes, 15 bus terminals, 84 kilometers (52 miles) of reserved traffic lanes and 60 park-and-ride lots, deployed an RFID system to track when a specific bus is nearing its assigned dock. The information is then displayed on the terminal's digital screens, alerting commuters (waiting comfortably inside the terminal) and giving them sufficient time to walk to the dock and board the bus (see RFID Puts Montreal Transit on a New Route).

In addition, Toronto General Hospital has deployed an RFID-based real-time location system (see Toronto General Hospital Uses RTLS to Reduce Infection Transmission), while the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development uses RFID to track furniture, equipment and other assets in the homes it manages for employees and diplomats posted overseas (see Canada's Foreign Affairs Department Uses RFID to Track Assets Worldwide).

I'm sure there are other deployments that RFID Journal has not written about, but in general, Canada has not been at the forefront of the RFID revolution.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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