Can RFID Track Underground Pipes Consistently?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Track Underground Pipes Consistently?
RFID Journal Staff asked 7 years ago

Has anyone done any work regarding the RFID-tagging of pipes underground, by which a tag would be deployed into the connecting flexible band seal, and data would then be read either from the surface or by a reader passing through the pipe itself?

—Steve (London, England)



I have not heard of any company using RFID in exactly the way you describe. It is possible to put tags in the flexible band seals, but the ability to read them consistently would depend on how deeply they were buried and the amount of moisture in the soil. Passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags have a read range of 20 to 30 feet in free air, but UHF energy is absorbed by water, so it can be a challenge to power up the tags so they can respond.

Here are some articles we’ve published on tracking pipes underground:

3M Upgrades Dynatel Locators

EchoRFID Offers Views Into Buried Oil and Gas or Utility Pipes

RFID Helps Prevent Sewer Disasters

Dominion East Ohio Uses RFID to Inspect Natural Gas Pipes

BP Uses RFID Sensors to Track Pipe Corrosion

RFID Locates Pipes and Secures Meter Collection for Utilities

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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