RFID News Roundup

By Claire Swedberg

Lyngsoe unveils three RFID products for logistics, shipping-container security ••• Recall document-storage center adopts TSL wearable RFID readers ••• Orbcomm launches next-gen cargo security, condition-monitoring solution ••• CTC Stade puts Plataine's industrial IoT-based production optimization to work ••• Bluvision launches beacon-based RTLS ••• SAE International revises aerospace RFID standard.


The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Lyngsoe Systems;
Recall, Technology Solutions UK Ltd.;
CTC Stade, Plataine;
Bluvision; and
SAE International.

Lyngsoe Unveils Three RFID Products for Logistics, Shipping-Container Security

Lyngsoe Systems has announced three new offerings in its Lyngsoe LIVE Logistics ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID product line: the DanEseal by Oneseal, the Sealing Terminal, and the Alarm Gate. All three products comply with the ISO 18000-6C and EPC Gen 2 RFID standards.

The DanEseal by Oneseal has a pull-to-tighten wire cable for locking onto a shipping container, the company reports. It has a built-in RFID tag with an omnidirectional antenna and a chip with a 128-bit Electronic Product Code (EPC), a 96-bit tag identifier (TID), a 48-bit factory unique serial number and 320 bits of user memory. The chip also features read protection, write lock, an access password and a user password. The container is secured by pulling the wire cable through the seal body until it reaches the black coating. The RFID chip is activated as the wire is pulled through. The tag’s read range is 5 to 10 meters (16.4 to 32.8 feet) on a European Union metal cargo container and 8 meters (26 feet) on a U.S. metal cargo container.

Lyngsoe LIVE Logistics DanESeal

The Lyngsoe LIVE Logistics – Sealing Terminal is a handheld RFID reader for identifying and verifying a DanEseal attached to a container. For example, to prevent corruption and fake sealing, a user identifies himself or herself with a personal password on the Sealing Terminal. The user can then read the DanEseal’s RFID tag before the seal is attached to the container, and the Sealing Terminal will verify whether or not it is an authorized seal with all included security functions. The Sealing Terminal cannot perform a correct container sealing with unauthorized seals, Lyngsoe Systems reports. Finally, the Sealing Terminal is used to link the DanEseal to the specific container’s ISO number and other systems utilizing optical character recognition (OCR). The operator then seals the container and interrogates the DanEseal’s RFID tag in order to verify that the seal is securely closed. The operator ends the sealing process by using the Sealing Terminal to take a photo of the correctly attached DanEseal, which can be later used as documentation of correct sealing. All information regarding the sealing process is then forwarded to the Lyngsoe LIVE Logistics platform.

Lyngsoe LIVE Logistics Alarm Gate

The Alarm Gate is an RFID reader with alarm functionality, used for container security solutions. It can be installed at any supply chain checkpoint at which visible indication of seal status is required—for instance, border crossings and bonded warehouse entry gates. It is designed for harsh outdoor environments, provides easy tamper detection, and facilitates supply chain visibility and optimized logistic operations, the company reports.

The gate works with the DanEseal seals, has one internal and one external RFID antenna incorporated, measures 305 millimeters by 305 millimeters by 70 millimeters (12 inches by 12 inches by 3.1 inches) and weighs 9 kilograms (19.8 pounds), and has an IP 67 rating.

Recall Document-Storage Center Adopts TSL Wearable RFID Readers

Information management solutions provider Recall, a document-management company that provides RFID-enabled document-storage services, has introduced a new wearable RFID reader program at a Recall Information Center in Atlanta, Ga., where documents are stored. According to the company, the readers are worn by Information Center personnel and are designed to enhance the efficiency of auditing and chain-of-custody processes for documents that are tagged with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlays complying with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. Recall expects to roll out the wearable readers this year to additional Information Centers around the world.

The program is using a Technology Solutions UK Ltd. (TSL) 1153 wearable RFID reader, designed to read and write data from and to RFID transponders and communicate with a variety of host devices via Bluetooth wireless technology. The wearable readers enable continuous audits of Recall customer assets during the course of daily operations. As employees move throughout the facility, a belt-mounted reader automatically audits tagged assets. Recent technical trials indicate this new scanning method has improved the overall process, Recall reports, as assets are regularly audited, complementing full site audits and reducing the time required for such audits from up to four weeks to only a few days. The company is currently using only TSL’s 1153 device for the wearable RFID reader program, though Recall says it is testing and exploring other models as well.

TSL’s 1153 UHF wearable RFID reader

Recall launched its RFID program in the United States in 2005. Since then, additional offerings for the program have included global availability for RFID on document-storage cartons, individual file and backup tape RFID labels, patented printable RFID tags for in-house tracking, on-demand online reports through Recall Portal, and the recent expansion to wearable RFID technology for continuous auditing of customer assets, the company says.

“Recall has been a pioneer in integrating RFID technology into the information management industry and has been focused on improving and innovating this technology for a decade,” said Ron McMurtrie, Recall’s senior VP and global chief marketing officer, in a prepared statement. “With more than 50 million RFID tags in Recall Information Centers globally and more than 500,000 new tags created each month, Recall continues to be first-in-class for providing customers with efficient access and control over their information. As we continue to further enhance our audit processes with industry-first RFID technology, we expect increased value for our customers as we provide near real-time updates, greater chain of custody documentation and stronger information governance programs.”

Orbcomm Launches Next-Gen Cargo Security, Condition-Monitoring Solution

Orbcomm, a provider of machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, has announced the release of its new CargoWatch Secure, a real-time cargo security and condition monitoring solution designed to provide shipment lifecycle awareness and visibility of dry and refrigerated cargo in transit and in storage. The application is able to traverse across a variety of transportation modes, according to the company, as well as serve multiple parties, from origin to destination. CargoWatch Secure users come from a variety of commercial and governmental sectors.

The solution relies on ZigBee-based sensors and other wireless technologies to detect temperature changes, light, vibration and other factors that may affect product integrity. The solution also includes an attached GPS/GSM electronic bolt seal or similar device that can be affixed to the outside of the trailer or container at the start of the trip. The status and location of the transportation assets and shipments in transit are continuously monitored for specific conditions, including tampering, motion, light levels and temperature. In the event of any anomalies, such as the bolt seal being broken, the detection of light or temperature thresholds being exceeded, the system generates alerts. Customers can then review those alerts and reports via the CargoWatch Secure application.

The new version of CargoWatch Secure features functionality improvements—advanced trip-management capabilities with seamless integration into third-party data feeds, advanced reporting capabilities and more. There are also significant improvements to the user experience, the company notes: a fresh and modern look and feel, new icons, improved layouts and data organization, quicker navigation, and a new dashboard for quick access to critical information.

In addition, the new version has been designed and built on a flexible IoT platform that allows for quick and seamless integration of a wide range of devices and services. According to the company, this allows Orbcomm to customize the solution and integrate technology as required to accommodate specific customer needs.

Orbcomm says it drew on its expertise in transportation and logistics to develop CargoWatch Secure for monitoring the global supply chain in real time. The application enables customers, including port and logistics zone operators, fleet owners, freight forwarders, customs and tax, and other government agencies, to detect, manage and correct supply chain anomalies in real time, thereby resulting in reduced losses and claims, according to the company. It also provides tools to help improve operational efficiency, enhance customer service and ensure compliance with government regulations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)., the company adds.

According to Orbcomm, CargoWatch Secure is designed to transform trip data into billing and insurance records so customers can quickly manage accounts payable, complete audits and provide value-added services to customers such as shipment status, current location and estimated time of arrival. The application also combines trip information, user-defined business rules and sensor data, such as exception-based alerts for door intrusion, unplanned or timed stops or deviations, geofences, temperature fluctuations, and tampering, with advanced reporting capabilities to deliver smart actionable data and customized reports.

CargoWatch Secure supports the company’s cargo security device portfolio, as well as select third-party devices that communicate with the application via RFID, GSM cellular, satellite, and ZigBee wireless technologies. In addition, the company indicates, CargoWatch Secure interfaces with partner systems for non-intrusive integration and quick, cost-effective implementation.

CTC Stade Puts Plataine’s Industrial IoT-based Production Optimization to Work

German company Composite Technology Center, Stade (CTC Stade) and Plataine Technologies have announced a partnership to create a “Factory of the Future” and investigate opportunities within technologies such as Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud computing, in order to advance the development of series production technologies for the manufacturing of composite components for aircraft construction.

CTC Stade, an Airbus division that designs and manufacture large and complex parts made of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers, will operate and simulate Plataine’s Industrial Internet Production Optimization solutions as part of its effort to maintain competitive advantage by driving innovation and advanced technologies, according to the two companies. Plataine, an American technology firm, first introduced its Total Product Optimization (TPO) software suite in 2007 to eliminate manufacturing inefficiencies (see Aerospace Manufacturer Reduces Waste via RFID-based Material Asset Tracker).

Plataine’s TPO solution collects manufacturing- and quality-related data for each manufactured part, the companies explain, and creates a paperless “Digital Twin” and “Digital Thread” to ensure that all produced parts comply with the industry’s rigorous regulations and quality standards. The solution automatically provides real-time visibility along the production lifecycle of critical assets, such as raw material, work-in-process (WIP) inventory, kits, assemblies and tooling. Additionally, the solution alerts production personnel and supervisors in the event that individual kits or rolls reach quality or production thresholds, such as shelf-life limits, production delays or bottlenecks, or when unauthorized asset movement is detected.

The TPO suite consists of a planning pillar and a production pillar. The planning pillar uses optimizers that synthesize information regarding production orders and existing inventory, in order to determine the most efficient course of action. The RFID-based Material Asset Tracker (MAT) provides real-time production tracking of materials, tools or whatever else a user wishes to track. The MAT feeds data back into the optimizer software, which updates the production plan accordingly. The solution is integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM) and manufacturing execution system (MES) technologies to holistically evaluate any stream of work orders for product mix and volume, producing efficient manufacturing plans.

Bluvision Launches Beacon-based RTLS

Bluvision, a provider of enterprise Bluetooth beacon solutions, has announced the launch of its real-time locating system (RTLS) solution for enterprises.

According to the company, industries that have been slow to adopt RTLS solutions have cited the limitations of the location accuracy provided, the cost of readers and tags, and the complex infrastructure requirements. Bluvision says its RTLS solution addresses those concerns since it offers accuracy greater than 1 meter (3.3 feet)—even in large open environments containing many people, metal objects or RF noise—requires minimal hardware, is easy to implement and comes with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). The solution leverages Bluvision’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and proprietary location engine to determine the specific locations of assets (equipment, inventory and individuals) in real time, and can also show history, path and dwell-time analytics.

Bluvision’s RTLS employs beacons with custom firmware, beacon gateway devices, and advanced algorithms running on the cloud. The solution does not require wired hardware, and can be installed quickly by plugging in the company’s BluFi gateways, provisioning beacons through the cloud and attaching sensors or tags to the assets to be tracked. The low cost of the devices and remote fleet management, the company reports, translates to scalability that is crucial while tracking assets for large global enterprises.

Bluvision has already been receiving a great deal of interest from enterprises seeking a more affordable RTLS solution, according to Subhashree Sukhu, Bluvision’s marketing manager, or that are trying to move away from major infrastructure requirements. The company is currently working with multiple clients on pilot projects, he says, and many are interested in personnel and equipment tracking.

SAE International Revises Aerospace RFID Standard

SAE International has announced that it has recently revised its RFID standard Aerospace Standard (AS) 5678A for passive RFID tags intended for aircraft use. The RFID standard revision was completed by SAE International’s G-18 committee and released in December 2015.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in January 2016 that it had published a revised advisory circular (AC) offering guidance on installing and using RFID systems on aviation products and equipment, including the latest revision of SAE International’s AS 5678A (see RFID News Roundup: FAA Publishes Draft Revised Advisory for RFID Use on Aviation Products, Equipment). The revised advisory circular, known as AC 20-162A, provides guidance for the proper installation and use of passive RFID tags as installed on aircraft parts and components. The revision overrides an older version, AC 20-162, issued on Sept. 22, 2008.

According to SAE International, the AS 5678A was revised for several reasons. The revision provides a requirements document for RFID tag manufacturers that produce passive-only, ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags for the aerospace industry. It also identifies the minimum performance requirements for passive UHF RFID tags for aircraft parts that can only be accessed during ground operations. Finally, it specifies test requirements specific to passive UHF RFID tags for airborne use, in addition to RTCA DO-160 compliance requirements, identifies existing standards applicable to passive UHF RFID tags, and provides a certification standard for RFID tags permanently affixed to aircraft and aircraft parts.

“This is a big area for SAE International in regard to aircraft maintenance,” said Logen Johnson, an aerospace standards engineer at SAE International, in a prepared statement. “Essentially, RFID technology enables the airplane to talk to itself in new ways and lets technicians know when there is a problem or when a part requires maintenance. It does this with radio signals. All the technician needs to do is walk by the part with a receiver and the part will transmit information on its status, where it came from, the part number, and where and when it was installed. Also, transitioning from wired to wireless systems is an excellent way to reduce the amount of wiring. The use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensors for integrated vehicle health monitoring applications instead of wired network sensors will avoid costly redesign to route network cables and the costs of performing safety re-certification.”

The G-18 committee is now working to publish AS 6023 for active and battery-assisted RFID tags intended for aircraft use. According to the association, active RFID systems employ self-powered RFID tags to broadcast signals over long distances. Active RFID tags are commonly used as beacons to accurately track the real-time locations of assets or in high-speed environments, such as passing through toll booths. Active tags provide a much longer read range than passive tags, but they are also much more expensive. Active RFID is currently used for such applications as ground support equipment management, cargo and personnel management, and part tracking.

Active RFID is not currently allowed on aircraft due to an FAA restriction, but the G-18 committee hopes that its active RFID standard will help in moving away from this restriction. In the prepared statement, G-18 chairperson Barry Allen said, “The reality is that active RFID technology is already pervasive throughout ground operations and onboard aircraft with electronics carried by passengers and in passenger luggage and cargo: fitness wearable activity trackers, smart watches, bag trackers, smart luggage, GPS trackers, cargo monitors, cycle computers, concussion detectors, and thousands of other devices going by names such as i-beacon, Bluetooth, BLE, Wi-Fi, ANT to name a few. Not to mention all the cell phones and laptops which people forget to turn off.”

The AS 6023 standard for active (battery-powered) RFID technology is currently an SAE G18 committee work-in-progress. The committee, which comprises global subject-matter experts, is working to define the minimum standards that such wireless devices must meet in order to ensure the safety of an aircraft and its passengers, according to SAE International.