How is radio frequency identification technology being utilized in the construction industry?
We are seeing a growing interest in the use of various types of RFID systems in the construction sector.
In fact, we recently ran a virtual event with Fiatech, a construction industry association, to highlight some of the applications. You can view those presentations by registering (it's free) and then visiting www.rfidjournal.com/videos/construction.
The most common construction application for RFID is tracking materials in a lay-down yard. Many construction components appear very similar, and can be scattered over a large area in a yard. RFID can be used to locate the precise item needed, quickly and accurately.
Another common application is asset tracking. Construction crane-leasing firm Stafford Tower Crane of America is using RFID to track its cranes and their large components throughout the United States (see Tracking Construction Cranes in Real Time).
And tool-tracking is becoming increasingly common. Tools are often misplaced or stolen from construction yards, so by installing a tool crib on site, companies can track who checked out an item, and then determine whether it has been returned (see Tool Tracking Goes Mobile).
There are also some innovative projects to use RFID to improve the safety of construction workers. In Australia, a company building a major tunnel is employing a real-time location system (RTLS) to monitor the locations of 1,700 workers in real time (see RFID Improves Safety, Efficiency of Brisbane Tunnel Construction). And U.K. researchers are working with an RFID system to monitor exposure to vibrations from machines, which can cause injury to employees (see U.K. Construction Company Works to Reduce Risk From Damaging Vibes).
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal
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