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Eldorado Research Institute Project Saves Lives via RFID

An RFID system to ensure the correct usage of security equipment in the electrical sector won the Best Poster award at this year's IEEE conference, which was co-located with RFID Journal LIVE! 2019.
By Edson Perin
May 03, 2019

The Eldorado Research Institute, located in Campinas, Brazil, had its poster chosen as the best among its worldwide competitors at the IEEE RFID 2019 event. The event was held in partnership and in parallel with the RFID Journal LIVE! 2019 conference and exhibition, which took place earlier this month in Phoenix, Ariz. The poster showed a system to ensure the correct usage of safety equipment in the electrical sector.

The Eldorado Research Institute's Jean Baracat and Flávia Costa
With the solution, the choice of individual protection equipment (EPI) or certain collective protection equipment (EPC) for each service performed in high-voltage electrical networks, as well as the appropriate use of these devices, is monitored via RFID readers and tags. The result is a reduction in the number of occupational accidents and the elimination of deaths, the cost of which has reached close to 2 million Brazilian real ($508,000) annually in that country.

"For a given intervention in high-voltage electrical networks, the EPIs and EPCs to be used are defined at the beginning of the procedure," explains Jean Baracat, the project manager and head of the Eldorado Research Institute. Tags are attached to security equipment, with sensors that validate and monitor the correct usage of the devices, and also alert operators and supervisors in the event of any errors.

According to Baracat, the inclusion of the RFID system in the EPIs and EPCs required during the field operation of the electric sector reduces the number of accidents caused by the non-use or incorrect usage of the protection equipment. "A fatal accident costs an average of 1.8 million real for an energy distributor," he says. "It is common to have more than two or three accidents of this type per year at a distributor. Thus, it can be concluded that, in addition to the project saving lives—on which a price tag cannot be put—on the tangible side, it is economically viable."

The system is already being used by Companhia Electrica do Pará (Celpa), experimentally and in a controlled manner, using the proofs-of-concept and prototypes developed by the Eldorado Institute, to validate the results of the applied research and experimental development phase, which was completed in August 2018.

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