How can I prevent the theft of new tires, as well as the replacement of new tires with older ones?
I don't know of any off-the-shelf solutions comprising tags, readers and software that are designed specifically for monitoring new tires. But we've published a number of stories regarding companies that are employing radio frequency identification for tire-tracking.
In 2007, we wrote an article about an intra-city bus company in Mexico that began testing a new tire-tracking solution to prevent theft. Sigmatire, from Actia Mexico, used RFID to combat tire theft and monitor the number of kilometers that a tire had been driven. The bus company, which Actia officials declined to identify, carried out the pilot for 30 days, studying environmental and operational conditions, such as how well the tags could be read based on where they were attached to the tires (see Mexican Bus Company Fights Tire Theft With RFID). I do not know if the system was ever put into use, but you could contact Actia to find out if the firm still offers such a system.
We recently wrote about a large tire-tracking deployment undertaken by Korea's Kumho Tires. The company plans to embed a passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag in all of the tires it produces, to enable them to be tracked at Kumho's factory, through the supply chain, at stores and by owners, such as fleet managers. Working with one of its sister companies, Asiana IDT, a developer and provider of IT products and services, Kumho developed a slim, rectangular patch-type UHF EPC RFID tag that is embedded inside a tire's inner liner during a high-temperature and -pressure manufacturing process. The company expects to have tagged approximately 14 million tires by the end of this year, and plans, starting in 2014, to place tags on all of the 35 million tires it produces in Korea annually. In so doing, the firm expects to reduce its annual costs by approximately $9 million, by reducing errors, simplifying lot-identification methods and addressing customer claims. Kumho reports that the quantity of tags at its overseas factories is expected to increase according to each plant's construction progress (see Tire Manufacturers Roll Forward With RFID).
Tire manufacturer Michelin has supplied an RFID-enabled version of its X InCity tires to some of London's buses, with the goal of making it simpler for bus-fleet managers to monitor tire pressure, and thereby improve safety and efficiency. Some of these RFID-enabled tires were utilized by bus-service provider Stagecoach London during the 2012 Olympic Games (see Michelin Uses RFID to Track Tire Pressure and Tread for London Bus Company).
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe conducted field trials of tires in the commercial sector in 2012. The deployment of radio frequency identification technology was part of the company's FleetOnlineSolutions tire-management program, designed with the help of British software firm Datalinx, to capture store data regarding individual tires. By logging onto FleetOnlineSolutions' Web site, tire owners, service providers and Goodyear Dunlop can share that information. The company first tested the racing-tire RFID application in 2009, on racecars at the British Touring Car Championship (see British Touring Car Championship Tracks Tires). Field trials involving the trailer tires were performed in 2011, including on the tires of the 3,100 trailers operated by logistics services provider Ewals Cargo Care (see Goodyear Dunlop Europe Plans RFID Trials for Bus Tires).
And Dutch truck tire and retreading company Roline is embedding tags in the tires that it retreads, not only to better manage its own production processes and warehousing, but also to enable its customers to track the tires they install on their fleets of trucks, buses or cars. The passive UHF tags and readers were provided by Ferm RFID Solutions, also based in the Netherlands. The tags are manufactured by Smart Res (see Dutch Tire Company Bonds EPC Tags to Retreads). We recently offered a presentation about this solution at our RFID Journal LIVE! Europe conference and exhibition (see Tire Company Uses RFID to Improve Tracking and Speed Inventory Process).
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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