Industrywide Approaches to RFID

By Mark Roberti

The aerospace and defense sectors are being propelled by large players to adopt radio frequency identification.

Next week, RFID Journal will host the RFID in Aerospace and Defense 2017 conference and exhibition in Arlington, Va. We launched the event two years ago because it was clear that both industries were being pushed toward widespread use of radio frequency identification technology by major players—Airbus and Boeing in aerospace and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in the military sector. The good news is that the technology is being adopted in ways that can benefit all companies in those sectors.

The DoD has been asking suppliers to put tags on shipments for more than a decade. During next week's event, attendees will get an update on the benefits of this program for the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRSNSCOM), as well as for the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

It's true that many companies are simply putting tags on shipments and not using the technology to gain any real benefits, but that's more due to a lack of vision by these companies than to a failure of the technology. At the conference, I will offer a presentation explaining how businesses can employ RFID internally to achieve strategic benefits.

The aerospace sector has been pushed to adopt RFID by the world's two dominant aircraft manufacturers, which have been asking suppliers to place RFID tags on a growing number of parts. Delta Air Lines will discuss how it benefits from these tags by leveraging them in its maintenance operations. And Justin Patton, director of the Auburn University RFID Lab—which just received a $2 million grant for research—will explain some of the key applications of RFID in this sector.

There are great opportunities for savings and efficiencies that, so far, are going unrealized. But I hope this event will stimulate companies to use RFID internally to cut costs and achieve real business benefits. Those speaking have years of experience to share. They know what works and what pitfalls you should avoid.

The defense and aerospace sectors are also very different from apparel retail, in which goods are RF-friendly. The parts that need to be tracked in aerospace are composed of metal. Many of the items the DoD wants to track are also made of materials that are difficult to track.

RFID in Aerospace and Defense 2017 will provide the opportunity for attendees to meet with RFID companies that offer tags, readers and software designed specifically for aerospace and defense applications. I hope you will join us at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City on Dec. 13 for RFID in Aerospace and Defense, so you can learn how these industries are adopting RFID—and how your company can benefit.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog or the Editor's Note archive.