Bringing Connectivity to Hazardous Areas by CAEN RFID

Articles | By CAEN RFID | 25 January 2016
UHF readers for use in potentially explosive locations: The new iRFID500 Bluetooth UHF RFID reader UHF readers for use in potentially explosive locations: The new iRFID500 Bluetooth UHF RFID reader Photo: CAEN RFID

Lightweight UHF Reader Devices for the Smart and Safe Worker

For oil & gas, using RFID makes maintenance and servicing more efficient, provides greater clarity on logistics, and enables end to end track and trace functionality. RFID provides traceability of valuable assets, accuracy, and speed of information. The hazardous area specialist Extronics has partnered with Caen RFID to develop a new range of UHF readers for use in potentially explosive locations providing the ability for smart, safe, and connected mobile workers.

David Pallassini, Sales Manager, Caen RFID, and John Hartley, Managing Director, Extronics, interviewed by „RFID im Blick“

What technology makes the new UHF products suitable for oil & gas environments?

Traditionally, RFID applications have used LF and HF. However, these frequencies have very short read ranges and can suffer from performance issues when used on metal or near liquids which is clearly an issue for the oil & gas, petrochemical, or chemical industries. We’ve overcome these issues with our latest range of UHF tags, the iTAG500 series. Due to their plasmonic structure, they work on-metal and near-liquid, and have the potential for long read ranges. To take advantage of this increased effectiveness, we have created a complementary range of reader options. We identified a particular need for a lightweight device that could link the UHF tag series with the iRFID500 reader.

What are the most interesting RFID applications within the oil & gas industry?

A key application is the use of RFID to support maintenance and turnarounds. The ability to track and trace work order materials from shore to ship to rig, combined with spotting points on the rig, can identify the exact location of materials and tools in moments. This reduces the time wasted searching for items and increases productivity. There is also a variety of other interesting applications, such as logistics and inventory management, including tracking pipes that are being transported by train. One such project involves tracking oil pipes as they are deployed on the rig, using fixed readers at the drill head and heavy duty tags on the pipes themselves.

Given the recent collapse in oil prices, why should companies invest in RFID?

RFID technology gives companies the ability to reduce costs by improving productivity and efficiency. These are precisely the kind of advantages required when a market is under pressure. Additionally, we expect oil prices to recover fairly quickly in the short term to around $85 per barrel, in which case the current uncertainty will be less damaging than some forecasters have predicted.

Where do you see Extronics and Caen RFID solutions being used?

Extronics and Caen RFID work with sales partners around the world to ensure that we can deliver our tracking technologies where they’re needed. Obviously, this includes the traditional oil & gas production areas in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Middle East, but also the newer production areas of Australia, Russia, Brazil, and Canada. Extronics solutions are also relevant to a number of other industries where explosive atmospheres potentially occur, such as pharmaceutical, chemical, and food production industries, to name a few. We are also busy developing tracking solutions for the particular requirements of the global mining industry.

End users today expect products tailored to their application. On the other hand, standards and easy integration are two important issues. How do you meet this demand?

Today’s industries operate in a connected world, and we offer a way to bring that connectivity to hazardous areas. In our view, commitment to open standards such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will be the cornerstone of growth, and history indicates that proprietary systems have a very limited shelf life. Our products are designed to be configurable to cope with individual applications and flexible enough to work with other systems, whilst adhering to the strict regulations required by our customers’ industries. Moreover, being compliant with ISO18000-6C/EPC C1Gen2 standard, our solutions permit the use of the same infrastructure and technology for hazardous areas as well as non hazardous areas. This allows oil and gas companies to develop an UHF RFID Track and Trace system able to cover all their processes, for example.

Last modified on Thursday, 28 January 2016 09:20
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