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New FIATECH Report Available: RFID Technology for Tracking Fabricated Pipe Phase II Sunday, 28 November 2004 18:00


AUSTIN, TX, November 29, 2004 — FIATECH has published "Field Trials of RFID Technology for Tracking Fabricated Pipe - Phase 11," the fourth report published by the FIATECH Smart Chips project this year.

The field trials described in this report tested the reliability of RFID technology in an application that would automate the critical task of documenting the delivery and receipt of uniquely tagged construction materials and equipment. The trials tested the ability of RFID systems to identify accurately unique spools of fabricated pipe passing through a portal gate. This portal application was deemed to be one of the most technically challenging uses of RFID in a realistic construction environment because of the dense metal environment, the large number of items to be read quickly and the need for long reading distances.

The results of the trials indicate that current active RFID technology can work reliably in such an application. In addition, the researchers interviewed industry practitioners and technologists in order to identify and describe some potential benefits of automating the tracking of unique materials at various points in the construction supply chain. The report describes typical generic steps in a construction supply chain, including fabrication, interim handling (e.g. third party painting of fabricated pipe), construction site receiving, issue to crafts, and installation progress. At each of these steps, we have identified some perceived inefficiencies and problems that might be addressed by RFID technology. The researchers concluded that RFID technology has the potential to both improve the efficiency and the accuracy of current manual tracking processes, and eventually could enable a more complete automation of these processes.

"I think the most interesting part of this report is the proposed use case scenarios for RFID technology tracking tagged items in the construction process, all the way from fabrication through installation and progress/QA monitoring," explains Charles Wood, FIATECH Project Manager. "These scenarios give us a much more complete assessment of the potential value of RFID technology than has ever been considered before."

The FIATECH Smart Chips project offers its sponsor companies the opportunity to conduct low-cost or no-cost pilot trials of cutting edge technologies, as well as monthly informational workshops to stay informed about technology developments affecting the construction and


New FIATECH Report Available: RFID Technology for Tracking Fabricated Pipe Phase II Sunday, 28 November 2004 18:00

operation of plant sites. For more information about this field trial or the FIATECH Smart Chips Project, contact Charles Wood at (713) 523-5380 or . Or, visit the Web site at http://www.fiatech. org/projects/ijs/schips.htm .

FIATECH members can obtain copies of the report in the Member's Only section on the FIATECH web site. Non-members can purchase a copy for $375.00 by contacting Janie Bushn in the FIATECH office at 512-232-9669 or .