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RFID Helps Milano Malpensa Airport to Complete Maintenance Work On Time

To make its repair and cleaning operations more efficient, the airport installed 50,000 tags to equipment and other objects, and issued RFID-enabled phones to all its maintenance workers.
By Claire Swedberg

The tags are also being used by the cleaning staff. For example, an NFC tag is mounted on the wall of every bathroom. Employees tap their phones against the tag as they begin their work, and again when finished. If a worker finds a problem, such as a non-working faucet, that individual inputs information about the issue, after which the software transmits a request for service to the appropriate service providers.

Typically, Dolci says, once a request for service is issued to a worker via mobile phone, that person has 15 minutes to respond by reading the tag onsite. If he or she fails to respond within the allotted time, an alert can be displayed in the software or sent to management.

For scenarios in which a series of steps must be completed, such as during the inspection of smoke detectors, personnel first read the tag, and then view a list of steps that they must select on the phone's touchscreen while completing their assigned tasks.

If government inspectors wish to view the condition and status of equipment at the airport, they are escorted by an airport employee equipped with a mobile phone. The worker reads the tags of any equipment that interests the inspectors, thereby pulling up a record of each item's manufacture date and maintenance or inspection history.

"We are very happy with the technology," Dolci states, adding that Malpensa intends to continue adding functions to the system. For example, the airport plans to enable users to access vocal instructions, which would spare them from trying to read instructions on the phone's screen. The system will also be integrated with warehouse data, so that users (such as an electrical worker making a repair in an electrical closet) can view on his or her phone if a spare part is available at the airport's warehouse, and put in a request for that item.

Within the next year, Ricci says, the Milano Linate, a sister airport to Malpensa, will also begin using the technology to track maintenance.

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