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Construction Waste-Management Company Uses RFID and GPS

Challande employs AgoraBee's ChisFleet solution to track the locations of metal trash containers that may be dispersed to dozens or hundreds of customers throughout Switzerland.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 26, 2012Swiss waste-management- and material-transportation company Challande et Fils is tracking the locations of its containers and waste bins as they are deposited at construction sites and other locations, using RFID tags on the bins, as well as readers on trucks to transmit GPS location data, along with each tag's unique ID number. The solution, known as ChisFleet, is provided by AgoraBee, an RFID and GPS technology firm. Since the system's installation in September 2011, Challande reports, it has reduced the risk of misplaced bins, as well as the amount of time staff members spend trying to identify the locations of the 250 to 400 bins in use at any given time.

AgoraBee developed ChisFleet to help waste-management and construction companies to track assets—such as trash bins—that may be located over a variety of sites, and thus be difficult to track. The firm launched in 2006, initially selling its product exclusively to suppliers before opting to, in some cases, install the system themselves directly for end users. The ChisFleet solution, according to Jari-Pascal Curty, AgoraBee's managing director, was designed both to incorporate GPS tracking with RFID, and to enable those with their own data-management software to view the locations of their vehicles, as well as those of tagged items.

To track the locations of its waste bins, Challande has installed RFID tags on its containers and RFID readers on the trucks used to transport them.

The system consists of AgoraBee's Krypton active 2.4 GHz RFID tags made with Nordic Semiconductor's nRF24L01+ chips, using a proprietary air-interface protocol, that are attached to trailers, trucks or other large cargo. According to Louis Harik, AgoraBee's head of research and development, the tags beacon with a unique ID number at a preset rate—most typically about 10 seconds.

Receivers, manufactured by AgoraBee, are installed on trucks that capture those transmissions and forward the data to a back-end system via a cellular connection. The receiver also transmits its own GPS position, and in that way, the software can detect and calculate not only which tag is being read, but also its exact location. When a truck deposits a waste bin and drives away, that bin's tag transmissions are no longer received. The software thus determines that the bin has been unloaded, and links its tag ID number with the vehicle's location at that time. The tag's read range is typically up to 30 to 100 meters (98 feet to 328 feet), the company reports.

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