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HP Canada Partners With Universities to Create RFID Labs

The joint effort, participants say, helps all involved parties conduct RFID pilots, carry out research and better serve the needs of industrial companies and other end users.
By Claire Swedberg
The RAD Lab's RFID equipment is portable and can be taken to SAIT's four education labs. That portability is essential to allowing researchers access to industry-specific devices, tools and equipment necessary to their study.

The Maintenance Lab is used to train millwrights and maintenance mechanics how to operate full-size industrial equipment, typically used in the oil and gas industry. The Human Simulation Lab employs robotic mannequins for training health-care students, while the Wellsite Lab is used to train oil and gas professionals at a full-scale well. And the Art Smith Aero Center is a training area designed for aerospace professionals in the areas of avionics and aircraft maintenance and repair.

All of the work done by the RAD Lab will be industry-driven, Zahavich says. Its projects will fall into four categories: agriculture, health-care, supply chain management for a variety of manufacturers and, finally, oil and gas.

Initially, the lab plans to work on an agriculture application with Olds College, located in Olds, Alberta, to test RFID tags for animal tracking. The college is conducting preliminary tag testing, Zahavich says, and SAIT Polytechnic is finalizing the collaboration agreement with Olds to develop hardware and software applications. HP Canada will provide consultants to assist with research and development.

In its study of RFID's use in the health-care sector, the RAD Lab will test the tracking of patient records at Calgary-area health-care facilities. The lab will also be utilized for inventory and asset management, Zahavich says, for as-yet-undetermined area manufacturers.

This week, the RAD Lab is sponsoring a seminar at SAIT Polytechnic for oil and gas companies, in cooperation with HP Canada, Cisco and Intermec. The seminar will explain how RFID tracking can be used in construction, maintenance and inventory tracking for such items as pumps and gears.

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