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Irish Lift Equipment Company Offering HF RFID-Based Inspections

Ireland's Electricity Supply Board utility is among the businesses using passive 13.56 MHz RFID tags on its lifting machines to ensure the automated capture of safety equipment testing and inventory-management data.
By Claire Swedberg

Last year, the firm tested a software-based system with an Android tablet that inspectors could use to input information. However, that technology failed to meet the company's needs, so it began seeking an RFID solution instead.

CoreRFID provides its CheckedOK app on an HF- or Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled Android tablet, which makes it possible for the tablet to capture tag ID numbers. It also offers a portal to the cloud server where data can be viewed by inspectors, Anderco's management and customers, according to Munzi Ali, CoreRFID's technical director.

CheckedOK is designed to improve safety management for use with handheld computers, tablets or smartphones. It can be used not only for managing lifting equipment, but also for tracking hazardous substances and work equipment, and for controlling accident hazards. Anderco is offering the service for use by its own inspectors, and also sells it as a service for customers to manage inventory and view inspection reports and certificates.

If a customer is utilizing Anderco's service with the CheckedOK app, an Anderco inspector will report to that customer's site to conduct inspections. He or she can use a 13.56 MHz HF RFID wand reader with a Bluetooth connection to an Android tablet to access data on the CheckedOK app regarding what equipment he or she plans to inspect at that site. As the inspector proceeds to each piece of equipment, he or she taps the reader near the tag affixed to that item. The app on the tablet identifies the equipment based on the encoded RFID number, and compares that ID against the list of equipment scheduled for that location. "Each time an inspector reads the tag," Ali states, "the system displays that equipment's history."

The inspector then follows the inspections process for that item, indicating what has been done by following the prompts. He or she can report any problems or potential issues, and can take pictures with the tablet, to be stored with the equipment data. That information is then forwarded to the cloud-based server. If the equipment passes inspection, an automatic certificate can be generated, which the customer (such as a construction company manager) can access and store, or print for the company's records. In that way, in the event that government inspectors require certificates, they can be easily accessed for each item.

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