Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center
Zahed Siddique, Brian VanSchoyck, Robert Nichols, Vinay Amatiganahally Reddy, Zhigiang Chen, M. Atiquzzaman
University of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center adoption and testing of the usage of RFID technology as a solution to the growing problem in tracking, locating and managing this large number of drawings used to produce the items for production and repair lines for U.S. Air Force weapon systems. As a result, the drawings and layouts should be able to be located effortlessly.
Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC) is one of the major service depots responsible for maintaining U.S. Air Force weapon systems, including B-52, B-1, E-3, and KC-135. In maintenance, there are thousands of hard copy drawings of fixtures, layouts, and other detailed drawings that are used to produce the items for production and repair lines. There is a growing problem in tracking, locating and managing this large number of drawings. One possible solution was to digitize the drawings and saving it in a digital repository. In past, it has been determined that this solution is too costly for scanning and reproducing the hard copy drawings. As a result, one possible solution is to track the drawings and layouts so that they can be located effortlessly.
RFID is a combination of radio -frequency-based technology and microchip technology. The information contained on microchips in the tags affixed to materials is read using radio frequency technology regardless of item orientation or alignment (i.e., the technology does not require line-of-sight or a fixed plane to read tags as do traditional theft detection systems) and distance from the item is not a critical factor. The use of RFID reduces the amount of time required to perform circulation operations. The most significant time savings are attributable to the facts that information can be read from RFID tags much faster than from barcodes and that several items in a stack can be read at the same time.
The RFID systems can be categorized into passive and active. In addition a new group of technologies offer real-time location solutions, or RTLS. These systems can provide location information on each tag, enabling accurate mapping and precise location-driven features. A comprehensive RFID system has four components: (1) RFID tags that are electronically programmed with unique information; (2) readers or sensors to interrogate the tags; (3) a database/library system to track documents; and (4) a server or docking station on which the software that interfaces with the automated tracking system is loaded.
Different RFID, real-time location systems (RTLS), and other automatic identification and data collection systems have advantages and disadvantages, which need to be considered during selection of a system for OC-ALC. Some of the important factors for locating documents include cost, precision of tracking, distance for RFID technologies and type of solutions being sought.
This system would function poorly in any search-oriented application. There is a great deal of variance in read outcomes between interrogations. It is difficult to predict for a given circumstance, which tag will be read. Distance, orientation, additional tags, and proximity to RF-hindering materials all influence the ability of the system to reliably read an expected tag.
The system does function as described, however, and offers a great deal of utility for automatic identification purposes. In a controlled environment with well-defined procedures, tags can be consistently and reliably interrogated. Under the proper conditions, this technology can deliver efficiency improvements for tagged object identification and automatic data capture.