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Junkyard Sees Value in RFID

The company is using TrazeTag's rubberized tags to track the whereabouts and processing of salvaged cars, and to trigger a video record.
By Claire Swedberg

When a new vehicle arrives at the yard, workers enter its VIN and other related details into the yard-management software, and apply a TrazeTag Long Reading-Range tag to that car's dashboard. In some cases, the vehicle's interior is protected from the outside environment, while in others, the windshield may be broken or missing entirely. The tag's unique ID is linked to the car's specific VIN.

Once a vehicle is entered into the system, staff members move it into the yard via a forklift truck equipped with an RFID reader mounted on its front end. The interrogator captures the tag's ID number and transmits that data to the hosted server, which then instructs the camera, also mounted on the forklift truck's front end, to begin recording. That recording continues until the car is put down, at which time the reader stops interrogating the tag ID. That video footage can then either be sent to the server via a Wi-Fi connection, or be loaded later via a wired connection. In either case, the video is stored along with the junked vehicle's VIN and RFID number.

TrazeTag's Leandro Margulis
Similarly, video footage is obtained every time the forklift moves the vehicle, thereby updating the system with a visual indication not only of what has been done to the car, but also its location within the yard. In this way, when a vehicle is needed, personnel can refer to the video and more quickly locate it, as well as a record of which processes that vehicle has undergone. That data can help to reduce the amount of employee labor, while also ensuring that vehicles do not become misplaced.

According to Margulis, the TrazeTag Long Reading-Range tag is also being used by a pallet company that leases or sells its reusable pallets to product manufacturers. During the past year, he reports, the pallet company (which has asked to remain unnamed) has been attaching a tag to each pallet's exterior, for clients that request RFID tags to enable pallet tracking (thereby aiding the manufacturer in monitoring the products loaded onto those pallets).

Although some companies are already building UHF RFID tags into their reusable pallets, Margulis says, the TrazeTag's advantage is that it can be applied only to pallets when clients require tags, and can be positioned according to a customer's particular needs. The tags are typically applied in a recessed area on the side of the pallet, he says, attached via two rivets. The recess protects the tag from some impacts, but the rubberization on the tag also protects the inlay inside it. If the company so chooses, the tag can then be removed from one pallet and placed on another.

TrazeTag is currently in discussions with various other companies and agencies interested in rugged tags. "We've been talking to a lot of oil-and-gas and military-defense [contractors]," he states. TrazeTag's tags are presently in deployment at several oil and gas sites.

In the North Sea, for example, the TrazeTag rubberized hanging tag is being used to monitor wire ropes and other equipment at a drill site. The tag is also available as an adhesive version, for assets that have a surface to adhere it to. TrazeTag sells the tag in a variety of colors, in order to make onsite visual identification easier. In addition, a flexible version of the tag, capable of being wrapped around a curved surface, is being used to track gas pipes—customized, in this case, with the word "RFID" printed in large black letters on a yellow background, to make it known that the pipe sections can be tracked via radio frequency identification.

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