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By Rich Handley

Identiv, Dai Nippon Printing Partner on UHF RFID Tags for Monitoring Bridge Cracks

Identiv has announced that its ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags have been incorporated into a new system that monitors critical infrastructure and detects cracks in bridges and tunnels. The tag was developed for Identiv partner Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), based in Japan.

Identiv's UHF tag portfolio is designed for applications across industrial markets, the company reports, including asset tracking, logistics and parking access. UHF technology uses radio frequency spectra that allow reading distances of several meters, depending on tag size and the operating power transmitted by the UHF reader.

"In Japan, the majority of tunnels and bridges were built during the high economic growth period of the 1960s, meaning they are quickly becoming too old for continued use. We are seeing an increase in accidents due to decrepit concrete, which is a huge, dangerous problem," said Sakae Hikita, DNP's senior executive corporate officer, in a prepared statement. "Local government and transportation entities are under regulation to maintain inspections. However, the cost of such inspections is incredibly high due to complex testing equipment and the skill of the laborers performing such testing."

DNP and Identiv developed an infrastructure-monitoring RFID inlay that can detect structural cracks, leveraging a UHF chip equipped with tamper-detection capability. The inlays have a long reading distance and can be glued to areas of concern on a concrete structure (sections suspected of being cracked, for example, or that may be extended in the near future). The inlays receive radio waves, and the system can monitor conditions to avert disasters before they can occur. DNP has developed an adhesive to attach the sheets to concrete, which cures the agent via irradiation with ultraviolet rays (sunlight) or fluorescent light.

The new monitoring system can read all information collected by the inlay sheets at once via a UHF reader-writer, thereby reducing inspection time, the company reports. The UHF range of Identiv's tags allows for a long communication distance. Small cracks are difficult to detect through visual inspection alone, but with Identiv's system, inspectors can make an accurate assessment. The data collected is then transferred to local PCs for a full inspection report.

DNP's infrastructure-monitoring system is scheduled to debut in Japan in March 2018. Identiv's UHF RFID tags are available now for customization.

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