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Airbus Trials Showing Strong Results

The aircraft manufacturer has decided to permanently roll out an RFID application for tracking jigs, and has also launched other RFID pilots for tracking work orders and tools.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
The tool-tracking pilot will run until July, Nizam indicates, at which point the company will decide whether to deploy the system permanently. Airbus believes there are many other areas within operations that could benefit from RFID, including parts lifecycle tracking, but Nizam says the firm has not yet begun any formal testing of RFID in these areas.

Nizam won’t reveal the names of the RFID vendors whose products are being tested as part of the pilots. But he says his company relies on its RFID systems integrator, ODIN Technologies, to evaluate the best products in the market prior to the beginning of each pilot. ODIN then works with Airbus to which products will be used in each pilot program. Airbus selected ODIN as its RFID systems integrator last year (see Airbus Hires ODIN Technologies for RFID Deployments).

The aircraft manufacturer recently signed a multimillion-dollar, multiyear contract with enterprise software firm IBM and RFID software and application provider OATSystems. It will use the software in implementing its various RFID projects.

The OATSystems RFID data management and asset-tracking software will run on IBM's WebSphere RFID device-management and data-filtering software. Martin Wildberger, IBM's VP of RFID solutions, says a flexible architecture makes WebSphere attractive to Airbus because the software can reside either directly on an intelligent RFID reader or on a separate server—depending on the business application—or it could be used in combination with a reader networking device.

RELATED ARTICLES Michael George, chief executive officer of OATSystems, says his company has collaborated closely on a number of other RFID deployments, and that its platform contains software applications designed for specific business processes that Airbus will be able to leverage. These applications include parts maintenance, asset tracking and repair and overhaul.

At this week's RFID Journal LIVE! 2008 conference, being held in Las Vegas, Carlo Nizam will discuss Airbus' RFID pilots and deployment plans.

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