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German Parking Garage Installs Moisture- and Corrosion-Sensing RFID Tags

The passive tags, embedded in the facility's cement supports and roof, can be read using a handheld device, to provide an early warning of any problems.
By Rhea Wessel
The monitoring systems are the only ones of their type on the market, Hill reports. All other similar solutions have sensors powered via an internal battery or electric cable, he says.

The parking garage in Boppard is using the first generation of the corrosion-monitoring system developed by Selfsan Consult. In the meantime, the firm is working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems, in Duisburg, to create a second generation of tags that will employ a special chip operating at 134 kHz. Fraunhofer is providing Selfsan Consult with an amplifier that will extend the reading range so that the embedded tags can be read remotely and automatically via a wireless local area network (WLAN), Hill says, adding that he expects the technology to become available next year.

"When we develop monitoring tools for the construction industry, we've got to keep all the complexities of construction in mind," Hill says, "making sure all the parts can work together and that the system as a whole will stand the test of time."

Hill describes his monitoring system as easy to operate, since there are no measurements that need to be interpreted. When tags are interrogated, the garage operators receive a simple yes/no answer—indicating whether corrosion or moisture is present.

According to Hill, the city of Boppard spent €8,000 ($10,300) on the monitoring system, as part of a total construction cost of roughly €5 million $6.4 million). The city expects significant savings on maintenance costs over the parking garage's lifetime, he reports.

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