RFID, container tracking, freight container tracking
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RFID, container tracking, freight container tracking
RFID, container tracking, freight container tracking

Freight Container Tracking

Dassnagar's RFID technology based freight container tracking system will provide Container leasing companies with an asset management system that will allow for efficient and cost effective operations. The system will incorporate radio frequency communication, with mobile computing platforms and web based information systems. This unique combination of technology provides an easy to use method of data capture, updating and synchronization without the need for error prone manual data entry.

Container Tracking System - architecture

System Framework

Features

  • Easily identify and locate containers, equipment etc 
  • Intrinsically safe tags can provide in-field information of assets
  • Verification of tasks and work orders with time-stamps
  • Schedule recurring tasks
  • No filtering through information (Books, manuals) or checking equipment for specifications
  • Client determines desired information stored on asset
  • Manage asset information as they get moved and upgraded
  • Information is mirrored and synchronized with a central database for easy access and modification
  • Anti-collision capability ensures data integrity, when several RFID tags are read simultaneously

Functionality

  • Site analysis and estimate
  • Tag mounting solutions
  • Software integration
  • System demonstration
  • Training and operational protocols
  • Customer support and quality assurance
  • Hosting client data (ASP agreement)
  • System testing
  • Custom Report Generation
  • Warranty

Stored Information

Types of information that can be stored :

  • present location  and next four destinations with arrival departure dates,
  • contents of the container
  • work orders, route of travel,
  • reports, history, notes etc

Technological superiority

  • barcode system fails if the image recognition field is minutely altered, may be due to scratching, dirt, sand blasting, day to day wire since LINE of SIGHT is compulsory. On the other hand RFID systems are based on radio wave transmission, so line of sight is irrelevant.  More >>
  • tags are programmable (read/write-able) - re-usable, can store multiple asset information
  • security - tags can not be reproduced (duplicated) - each tag comes with a unique six digit no which is set at the time of manufacturing. bar code label contain visual pictures which may be dulicated
  • item attendant data - information about the asset is available onsite instead of referring to a database
  • stored information may include; location, time stamps for events, release dates, billing information, container contents, equipment specifications etc
  • multiple assets tags can be read simultaneously - anti-collision capability allows multiple scans in milli secs

Dassnagar's superiority

  • tags are secure and use encryption to protect the validity of the data,
  • holds 8 times the amount of data than other RFID suppliers,
  • mount-on-metal solution will protect the tags in the harshest of environments,
  • with a hand held PDA, onsite info can be extracted from the tag
  • complete system integartion, from the computing network back-end to the application (container tracking) software and a total integration with the RFID technology.

Operational limitations

  • The CAPTURE FIELD (operational range) of the tags is limited to 2-3 cm i.e. read/writing is possible when the distance between tag and reader is < 3 cm. May be increased to 1-2 meter by replacing the hand held readers with more expensive stationary readers,
  • Radio waves are absorbed by water so communication between the tag and reader is cut off in case the tag is fully immersed under water. However tags are waterproof,
  • Radio waves can not penetrate metals due to interference of magnetic fields

However with innovative system design and engineering, these limitations can be easily avoided.

There is a myth that Capture Field is a luxury in an RFID system. The reason being since "Capture Field" is a function of 'reader supplied power' and 'frequency' at which the tag and the reader system communicates. Increase in reader power can be achieved by using more powerful readers and communicating in higher frequency range demands use of battery powered active tags and higher capacity readers and other accessories thus leading to a disproportionate increase of the overall system cost and hence not recommended.

Hardware

  • RFID Tags (Data Access Points-DAP's) -  Mount on Metal type, 13.56 MHz, 16 kbits memory
  • Hand held computer - Visor Pro PDA (With Recharging and data synchronization cradle)
  • RFID Reader - HandIT Visor Module (RFID Springboard Reader)
  • Web server - PIV, 2 Ghz+, 1 Gb RAM, 120 Gb hard-disk RAID config (at least mirroring)  [qty: 1]
  • Client PC's - Pentium, 1Ghz, 256 Mb RAM, 80 Gb HDD  [ qty: 1 x no of check points]
  • Modem / LAN card to connect to Internet

Software

  • Web server OS - Win 2000 Advanced Server
  • Client PC OS - Win 2000 Professional edition with IE 6.0
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (10 client licenses)
  • Management Software (PC, Server & PDA)

Conclusion

Initial evaluations of RFID systems often show only a minimal benefit to the end-user. However, RFID technology is currently replacing barcode technology world-wide at an ever growing pace. Most of the worlds leading companies are either using or researching the potential of the technology for their business. Companies that have invested properly have proven that the benefits are not minimal at all but in actual fact they are quite dramatic. Wal-Mart (the world's largest company) for instance has just placed a mandate for its top 100 suppliers to become compliant with RFID technology for pallet and container tracking by January of 2005.

Investing in a barcode system, a technology that is passed by may be a cheaper solution, but RFID is the future. Though the initial investment is more than a conventional barcode system yet the added features gives your enterprise scalability which decreases your overall operating cost. ROI varies between 1 - 2 yrs depending on the type of application.


Barcode fails once again.....

US Military Problems with Container Tracking in Harsh Environments

During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, the responsiveness of the logistics systems were degraded by thousands of duplicate orders placed because operational units had inadequate visibility over the status of their requisitions. Moreover, an enormous amount of materiel was shipped to the theater which was not readily available to forces because of poor control and poor visibility of assets - for example, printed labels and barcodes were sand swept and could not be read, so containers had to be opened for their contents to be known. Such problems reduced the readiness and effectiveness of combat forces and place unnecessary strain on the transportation system. Maintaining a visible end-to-end distribution system has become critical to U.S. military efforts. Last fall, General Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, ordered "all air pallets, containers, and commercial sustainment moving to/from theater and intra theater movement to be tagged with RFID [radio frequency identification] at origin."




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RFID, container tracking, freight container tracking