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National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art Adopts Active-Passive RFID Solution

The RFID system, provided by EPC Solutions Taiwan, is designed so that the museum can view the real-time location of artwork on display or being moved within its warehouse.
By Claire Swedberg

The company affixed a Microprogram MP-1303 active 900 MHz RFID tag to each transporting cart, in order to transmit location data related to that cart as it moves throughout the building. It also equipped each cart with a passive RFID reader and a FlexAnt antenna to interrogate the tags of any artwork loaded onto it. In order to track each cart's active tag, the museum then installed around 15 Alien ALR-9900+ EPC Gen 2 RFID readers to interrogate the tags on the carts as they were moved throughout an expanded warehouse area, as well as between the warehouse and exhibit halls.

EPC Solutions set up 16 fixed ALR-9900+ reader portals at the warehouse egresses and throughout the facility, and installed Futaba Electronics software on the museum's back-end system to manage the read data, in order to determine when an item passed from one location to another. In addition, the museum mounted a camera at each reader portal. If the Futaba software alerts management that an item is being removed, the camera provides a video image of the artwork being moved through that portal. Employees also utilize five ATID AT-870 handheld readers to search for a specific object, or to conduct spot checks of the artwork.

Additionally, EPC Solutions Taiwan developed a new dual-band 900 MHz and 125 KHz active RFID system for tracking the locations of visitors or personnel within the warehouse. Every visitor receives a badge containing an embedded Microprogram Activ Personnel Tag. A 125 kHz low-frequency (LF) exciter, also manufactured by Microprogram, transmits a signal to the badges (as well as to the tagged carts) to awaken them—the read range is approximately 10 meters (33 feet)—after which they transmit their response to the nearest of the 16 Microprogram RFID receivers installed throughout the warehouse. EPC Solutions installed 56 exciters in each room within the warehouse, as well as along the tunnel connecting the warehouse to the exhibition area.

As items are moved, they are placed in a cart, the reader of which identifies those objects. The reader works in conjunction with a cable antenna that EPC Solutions developed and installed on the cart to limit the read range, thereby ensuring that only the tagged items on the cart itself are read. The interrogator then forwards the collected read data to the museum's back-end system via a Wi-Fi connection. Once the cart passes one of the exciters inside the warehouse, its active tag transmits its ID number, thus providing the software with location information that is linked to the UHF RFID read data from the cart's onboard reader. In that way, the software can provide real-time details indicating each piece's exact position.

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