RFID Tracks Chemical Inventory at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

By Doug

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one of the largest science and energy national laboratories in the United States, is monitoring its inventory of chemicals within 1,200 individual storage areas via RFID technology. The solution, consisting of passive ultrahigh-frequency RFID tags, handheld readers, printers and software, allows laboratory managers and technicians to accomplish inventory checks within a matter of hours, as opposed to the days required to track the same materials via bar-code labels and scanners. As each new chemical is received, data is input into the system, after which staff members print an RFID tag with a unique ID number encoded to it, and that same number is printed on the front, both in text format and as a 2-D bar code. The adhesive tag is then applied either to the container itself, such as a bottle or canister, or to a zip-lock bag in which the vial or container is placed. Learn how the system saves time by about 80 percent. And hear about other uses for the technology, including the management of construction materials coming from multiple countries for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a fusion energy project funded by seven member entities: the European Union, India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States.