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Italian Construction Firm Deploys RFID to Track Offshore Equipment
Saipem attaches Omni-ID EPC Gen 2 passive tags to cranes, drilling rigs and thousands of other items, to improve safety and reduce wastage and delays.
Saipem fastened Omni-ID Max tags to its own assets, first tagging its steel items, then placing tags on floaters and buoys. When a piece of equipment is found without a tag, operators can program a new one, inputting data regarding the item to be linked to the tag's unique ID number—such as its serial number, description and manufacturer—and then bolting or welding it to the asset. The data related to that item is stored in Saipem's own proprietary logistics support software, known as New Asset Material Automatic Searching Technical Equipment (NAMASTE).
Saipem's staff uses a Motorola handheld computer with a built-in RFID interrogator around the work site, to locate missing items and determine which items the company has on site, says Mauro Bianchi, ACM-e's director. Using the handhelds, workers are now able to identity items without climbing onto piles of equipment, or the vehicles onto which they are loaded.
When a piece of equipment is needed, it is first requested from its storage location (based on inventory data maintained in the NAMASTE software), where its tag is scanned with a handheld reader to create a record of its shipment. When that item reaches the shore of the drilling site, the asset is again scanned to produce a record of which items have been sent to the offshore site. Once an asset is returned to storage, that same process is carried out, with the tags being scanned as they reach shore, and once more when they are placed in one of Saipem's storage facilities. The Motorola handheld computer can store the read data, which is then uploaded to a PC at the end of a day via a USB connection.
Saipem's employees can log into the NAMASTE system to view what has been shipped out of storage or to the offshore site, and when. The system can also alert users if a requested item has not been shipped, or if a piece of equipment destined for one location was received at a different one.
"Our greatest challenge," Franzoni, "was the awareness of inventory levels, number of assets lost and found—tracking these huge assets through logistics process."
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