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Milwaukee Cylinder Offers RFID Tags for Documenting Maintenance

Customers in industrial environments can use a handheld RFID reader to capture data about a cylinder's inspection and repair history, then write comments about the latest service being provided on it.
By Claire Swedberg

When a tagged cylinder needs to be inspected or serviced, a worker would use a handheld reader to view its history, serial number and repair kit part number. To minimize maintenance shutdown timeframes, workers could visually inspect the cylinder and read its tag ID number days prior to the machine's shutdown, and thus determine if a part requires replacement so that it can be ordered ahead of time. Without the RFID tag, repair parts could often not be ordered until after the machine was deactivated, since the ID number could not be accessed until the equipment was partially disassembled or the cylinder was removed.

After performing any maintenance tasks, an employee could use the reader to input data about the services provided, along with any comments. This information is then written to the tag's memory, along with the date.

The data stored on the tag could also reveal historical trends, Lacina says. For instance, improperly mounting a cylinder could result in unnecessary strain being put on the equipment, leading to a shorter maintenance cycle and excessive wear on parts. Such a problem could be identified by reading the tag's comment history. "The tag makes it difficult to lose information," he adds, since its data can be captured and updated on the cylinder tag at any time, as opposed to an employee having to seek paperwork or input documents into a computer system.

The tag is highly durable, Lacina adds, and is expected to last for the cylinder's lifetime. A customer wishing to retrofit one of his company' existing cylinders with a tag can provide that cylinder's serial number to Milwaukee Cylinder, which will then encode the relevant data to a tag and ship it to the customer for mounting on the cylinder.

"We're the first company in this space that's done something like this," Lacina states. "We're leading the industry." When it comes to RFID-tagging cylinders, he says, customers will require some education to learn the system's advantages. In November, he adds, the firm plans to hold a webinar, which will be available on Milwaukee Cylinder's website, to help potential users understand how the solution works.

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