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Tire Industry Works Toward Global RFID-Tagging Standards

Mesnac, Michelin and other tire companies are seeking ISO ratification of four standards that specify how RFID tags are applied to tires, and how they are encoded and tested.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 11, 2016

A tire-industry working group led by Chinese rubber manufacturing equipment company Mesnac strives to standardize the way in which the tire industry uses radio frequency identification tags. This includes how those tags are attached in tires, as well as how they are tested and encoded with data.

The working group's efforts have resulted in four proposed ISO standards, all focused on passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags. The ISO/NP 20909 standard provides performance and function requirements for tags used in tires, while ISO/NP 20910 consists of coding requirements and how data is written to and stored on tags. ISO/NP 20911 features methods and technologies related to one step in the process of attaching or embedding tags, and the ISO/NP 20912 standard provides testing methods for tags embedded in tires.

Mesnac's Dong Lanfei
The proposed standards were officially filed for consideration in June 2015, with the ISO/TC31/WG10 Workgroup established on Oct. 6, 2015, thereby signaling the start of the approximately three-year approvals process. The workgroup's next meeting is scheduled for next month. If everything goes well, the four standards are expected to become ratified by October 2018.

All four standards were drafted by Mesnac with input from tire industry firms, including global tire company Michelin and other manufacturers from China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The proposed standards are based on existing automotive industry-based tire-tagging standards, including those of the Auto Industry Action Group (AIAG) (see Auto Industry RFID Data Standard Proposed), as well as other auto industry organizations, such as Odette International, the Japan Automotive Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association.

In 2008, Michelin, Mesnac and China's Standardization Administration of China (SAC) Technical Committee, TC19, along with members of AIM Global China and GS1 China, met to create a regional Chinese tire RFID tag-use standard. These Chinese standards were published locally early this year. The effort now is to establish global versions that will enable tire manufacturers to uniformly select and embed RFID tags in order to assure interoperability. Such tags could then be used throughout a tire's life span, wherever it is located throughout the world, to track tires through the manufacturing and distribution processes. In addition, the tags could be accessed by tire users, such as bus companies or commercial operations with fleets of company vehicles.

Launched at the Qingdao University of Science and Technology in 2000, Mesnac designs and manufactures tire-making machinery, and also carries out research and development efforts.

In its research capacity, the company "is committed to R&D and innovation of information equipment, industrial software applications and new rubber material research," says Dong Lanfei, the chief engineer of Mesnac's Internet of Things division. Mesnac's customers use the company's software and equipment to produce tires from rubber materials. In addition, the firm has been working on RFID technology since 2005, and offers solutions enabling customers to embed, encode and test RFID tags in their products. Mesnac's customers can also utilize the RFID technology to track the incoming rubber and other raw materials, as well as semi-components and finished tires.

Mesnac finds that the use of RFID is increasing among tire manufacturers, Dong reports. However, she adds, current tire-related RFID standards, while established by the automotive sector, lack the details that tire manufacturers and others in the tire industry would need to uniformly track materials and tires throughout the supply chain.

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