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Mexican Bus Company Fights Tire Theft With RFID
Using EPC Gen 2 tags on the inside of bus tires, the company is hoping to keep thieves from stealing new tires and replacing them with older ones. The tags will also help track tire maintenance.
Actia provides technology for fleet management, including satellite, Wi-Fi and sensors that monitor mileage, speed and other engine-related details. At the bus company's facilities, Actia installed EPC Gen 2 915 MHz tags made by Advanced ID in the 10 buses' tires. Technicians removed the tires, glued a tag inside each tire so it would be difficult to remove or damage and put the tagged tires back on the selected buses. Actia also installed Advanced ID HH800 RFID readers on several doorways of the garages where the buses are stored.
In addition to tracking the tires with RFID, the bus company uses a satellite system provided by Advanced ID. This satellite system tracks all the buses en route in real time, while also collecting data via sensors, installed under the bus dashboard, that indicate how buses are being driven. For example, the sensors track speed, providing the satellite details on how fast bus drivers are driving during their runs. The data collected via the sensors and satellite system is integrated with the bus company's back-end SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Each day, when a bus leaves the garage, it passes an interrogator that captures the unique ID number of each tire's RFID tag. As the system scans the numbers, it checks them against data stored in the bus company's ERP system, which links tires to specific vehicles. Armed with this data and the satellite information, supervisors can track who is driving a given bus, its mileage and whether all tires on that bus are the ones originally installed by the company. "Also," Lara says, "they can analyze performance of the tire" by comparing the distance a tire has traveled against a physical inspection of that tire. "Not all the different tires have the same quality—in this way, they can select the best tire and also detect anomalies in the operation conditions," he says, such as driver performance or improper inflation.
According to Lara, Actia's Sigmatire can be managed either in-house by the company using it, or on a Web site hosted by Actia. The Mexican bus company has not yet integrated the RFID pilot with its ERP system, but he says it plans to do so if it decides to fully implement Sigmatire.
European companies have shown an interest in similar systems, reports Advanced ID's president and CEO, Dan Finch. "We are talking to several manufacturers and distributors in Europe who have expressed interest in the [RFID] tire tag," he says, "including, France, Luxembourg, Finland and Israel."
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