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Can RFID Track Small Components?

Posted By RFID Journal, 02.20.2015

Our pain area is managing small spare parts. Can RFID help?

—Name withheld


The truthful answer is "probably," but it would be difficult to say for certain without knowing a lot more about the issues you are facing. Are these individual parts? Are they composed of metal? Are they stored in parts bins? What is the problem you experience in managing them? Are they being misplaced on shelves within the same warehouse, or are they being transported to different locations and you lose visibility when they are shipped?

Tagging a high volume of individual spare parts can be costly, and if each part is of low value, it might not be worth doing. It depends on the cost of the parts and the value of knowing where they are located in near-real time. It's easier to track parts bins. Here are some articles we've published on tracking spare parts:

Large Entertainment Co. to Try RFID for Tracking Spare Parts in Its Data Centers
Iveco to Expand RFID System for Managing Replacement Parts
Lufthansa Technik Automates Supply Management (premium content)
French Utility Finds Turbine Components Fast
Automakers Seek Fast ROI From RFID (premium content)
Using UHF RFID in Auto Factories
Singapore Transit Operator Streamlines Vehicle Maintenance

At RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2014, we had an excellent presentation about KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) using RFID to track spare parts (see Using RFID to Track and Trace Aircraft Spare Parts). This recording is available to premium members.

I would encourage you to attend this year's LIVE! event. You will likely hear about several deployments that can provide insights into how RFID can help you manage spare parts, and you can discuss the particulars of your situation with the exhibitors offering possible solutions.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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