Tracking Tools with RAIN RFID: Webinar Summary

69 views

#aviation MRO, #foreign object risk FOR, #healthcare, #InThing Corp, #nuclear tool tracking, #power tools and mobile equipment, #RAIN RFID, #research lab tools, #RFID technology, #RFID tool tracking, #Tool tracking, #visium, #voyantic, #xerafy,


InThing Tool Tracking Software

In a recent webinar hosted by Voyantic, industry leaders came together to discuss the critical importance of tool tracking across various industries and the innovative solutions provided by RAIN RFID technology. The session featured insightful presentations from Mr.Rajiv Anand, CTO of InThing Corp., Mr.Teemu Ainasoja, Sales Director at Voyantic, and Mr.Bhavik Ghaghada, Senior Sales and Solutions Manager at Xerafy.

The event highlighted the challenges and benefits of implementing RAIN RFID in tool tracking and provided practical advice on optimizing its use. 

Why is Tool Tracking Important? 

InThing Corp’s Rajiv kicked off the webinar by emphasizing the significance of precise tool tracking in several key industries: 

  • Aviation MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul): Foreign Object Debris (FOD) can cause severe damage to aircraft, leading to costly repairs and potential safety hazards. Effective tool tracking helps mitigate these risks by ensuring that all tools are accounted for and not left in aircraft after maintenance. 
  • Nuclear Industry: Foreign Material Exclusion (FME) is critical to prevent contamination and ensure safety in nuclear facilities. Accurate tracking of tools is essential to maintain strict control over the materials used within these environments. 
  • Healthcare: Retained Surgical Instruments (RSI) pose significant health risks during surgical procedures. Implementing robust tool tracking systems in healthcare settings can prevent such incidents, ensuring patient safety and operational efficiency. 
  • Research Laboratories: Regular calibration of tools and equipment is vital to maintain the accuracy and reliability of experimental results. Tool tracking helps streamline the calibration process, reducing downtime and improving productivity. 
  • Manufacturing: In manufacturing environments, the efficient management of tools and equipment is crucial to maintaining production schedules and minimizing downtime. Tool tracking ensures that the right tools are available when needed, reducing delays and improving overall operational efficiency. 

What makes RFID in Tools Challenging?

Xerafy’s Bhavik provided an in-depth look at the challenges associated with using RFID for tool tracking: 

  • Foreign Object (FOD) Risk: The risk of losing tools is a significant concern, especially in high-stakes industries like aviation and nuclear. RFID helps address this by providing real-time visibility and accountability. 
  • Varying Tool Sizes: Tools come in a wide range of sizes, making it challenging to find a one-size-fits-all RFID tagging solution. Customizing tags to fit different tools is essential for effective tracking. 
  • Performance on Metal: Metal tools can interfere with RFID signals, complicating the tracking process. Advanced RFID tags designed to perform well on metal surfaces are necessary to overcome this challenge. 
  • Complex Environment: Tools are often used in environments with dirt, oil, and chemicals, which can affect the performance of RFID tags. Selecting durable tags that can withstand these conditions is crucial. 
  • Large Inventory: Managing a large inventory of tools requires a scalable and reliable RFID system to keep track of all assets efficiently. 

 

Benefits, Pains, and Use Cases for Tracking Tools with RAIN RFID 

The webinar also covered the benefits and potential challenges of using RAIN RFID for tool tracking, along with specific use cases: 

Tool Management at Rail Manufacturer: Rajiv shared a compelling case study from a rail manufacturer that implemented RAIN RFID for tool management. The system improved tool availability, reduced search times, and enhanced overall productivity. 

Selecting an Optimal RFID Tag: Bhavik provided detailed guidance on selecting the right RFID tag for different types of tools –

  • Tracking Hand Tools: Start with smaller on-metal tags such as XS Dash, PICO On, or PICO Mini. These tags are compact and designed to perform well on metal surfaces, making them ideal for smaller hand tools. 
  • Power Tools and Mobile Equipment: For larger tools and equipment, use larger on-metal tags with rugged cases and attachments like PICO Plus, NANO Plus, or MICRO Power. These tags offer enhanced durability and performance, suitable for more demanding applications. 
  • Plastic or Wood Surfaces: Use the slimmest hard tag with multi-surface performance, such as Slim TRAK or Metal Skin Titanium. These tags are versatile and can be used on non-metallic surfaces without compromising performance. 

Tag Attachment – Best Practices: Bhavik shared best practices for attaching RFID tags to tools. Use a strong adhesive base to secure the tag. Properly mount the tag to avoid damage and ensure optimal performance. Encapsulate the tag in epoxy for protection in harsh environments. Use heat shrink tubing for added durability and protection from external factors. It’s important to ensure that tags are not covered with metal, as this can interfere with their functionality. 

Testing and Documenting RF-Performance and Quality: Teemu Ainasoja rounded out the session by discussing the importance of testing and documenting the RF performance and quality of RFID tags. Ensuring that tags meet performance standards and can withstand the operational environment is key to the success of any RFID tool tracking system. 

The Future: Connected Tools

The webinar concluded with a look into the future of tool tracking. Rajiv highlighted the potential of integrating RFID technology into tools at the point of manufacturing. This advancement would streamline the tracking process, making it easier to manage tools throughout their lifecycle and enhancing overall efficiency. 

RFID Tool Tracking System 

  • System Management Features: All these tags must have good software through which the tools will be monitored, and one of them is InThing’s Visium platform that offers centralized tool data management, container configuration and audits, user and rights management, and location management to enhance operational efficiency and security. 
  • Fixed Station and Self-Service Kiosk Features: The platform includes fixed station and self-service kiosk features like tool check out and check in, container assembly and audits, and tag encoding, printing, and auditing for streamlined tool management processes.
  • Mobile Application Features: Visium’s mobile application allows for real-time inventory management, location-based auditing, locating tools with a Geiger counter, bulk enrollment, toolbox assembly and audits, toolbox configurations, and consumables inventory tracking, providing flexibility and convenience. 

Conclusion

The RFID tool tracking system represents a significant advancement in asset management technology, providing organizations with the tools they need to manage their inventories more effectively. The insights shared during the webinar by Rajiv, Teemu, and Bhavik underscored the importance of tool tracking in various industries and demonstrated how RAIN RFID technology can address the challenges associated with it. As industries continue to evolve, adopting advanced tracking technologies like RAIN RFID will be essential for maintaining efficiency, safety, and competitiveness. 

To watch the webinar, visit here.

Author’s Note

Izabela

Izabela Pepelko Farszky is a digital marketing specialist handling design & content.