RFID Solution Fights Counterfeit Tires

Advanced ID has enhanced its solutions for authenticating and managing tires with a new RFID reader module from SkyeTek that supports industry standards and is optimized for the range and conditions common in tire-tracking applications.
Published: August 17, 2007

This article was originally published by RFID Update.

August 17, 2007—To protect against the growing problem of counterfeit tires, Advanced ID and SkyeTek have announced a new, standards-based tire management solution. SkyeTek’s UHF RFID reader modules are used in Advanced ID readers, which capture tire tag identification data for authentication. The readers integrate with the company’s software to provide tire performance data and other information to help manufacturers, distributors, and fleet operators manage tire inventories.

“We think maybe one out of five tires is counterfeit or came from the gray market, and is not manufactured to the standards of the world’s top manufacturers,” Advanced ID CEO Dan Finch told RFID Update. “It’s a big problem that the industry doesn’t talk about a lot, in part because it has traditionally required expensive identification and tracking solutions.”

RFID tags can be safely attached to tires to provide identification and to integrate with sensors to store data on pressure, wear, and other conditions. There are several industry and international standards for tire identification that are compatible with the EPC system so tires can be uniquely identified and authenticated throughout the supply chain. Finch said all major tire manufacturers are conducting RFID trials, and many fleet operators and smaller tire manufacturers, distributors, and leasing agents are also piloting RFID.

“Low cost solution devices and systems are expected to lead the way for migration to the era of tire RFID,” Dr. Patrick King, global electronics strategist for Michelin, is quoted in the announcement. “This is particularly true for commercial tires and applications, and the publishing of global tire standards recently have helped to set the stage for adoption,” said King, referring to AIAG B11, Tire and Wheel Data Standard and ISO 17367 Embedded RFID Standard.

Michelin, the world’s largest tire manufacturer, estimated that 50,000 to 70,000 counterfeit truck tires were sold in Europe in an 18-month period. The company urged the European Commission to take action, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association.

Advanced ID provides RFID tags that can be embedded into tires by manufacturers, as well as patches that can be applied in the aftermarket. It manufactures handheld and fixed position readers, using reader modules from SkyeTek and others. The company’s software applications can track tire inventories, monitor tires as they drive in and out of depots, and provide advanced management capabilities. In July the company acquired Pneu-Logic, which provides automated tire inspection and management solutions. Finch estimates Advanced ID’s RFID-based tire monitoring and asset management systems can save fleet operators 20 to 25 percent on tire and fuel costs.

SkyeTek and Advanced ID collaborated to develop the reader announced today. Finch said it provides both excellent performance and the intermediate ranges typically needed for tire ID applications. It also conforms to EPC Gen2, AIAG B11, and ISO standards.