- Oct 12, 2018-

Vacations are designed to provide some down time and recharge the batteries for another year. But upon arriving at my vacation rental on Cape Cod for a week of R&R, I couldn’t help but think of RFID.  As I sat on my deck overlooking Wellfleet Harbor, I overheard a conversation from my neighbor’s yard about their broken water pump.

Around mid-morning, three workers from a well water service company showed up to fix the water main. There was a big problem, however…they could not locate the main pipe for the well. Evidently, contractors may have moved it during a recent landscape renovation.

I was shocked to return home after a few hours at the beach to find the crew still searching for the well pipe. I immediately thought about how an RFID-tagged water pipe could have been located within minutes with the aid of a handheld scanner.

I also started to think about the financial ramifications. Aside from three workers spending more than 12 hours at the site, the homeowner and realtor had to get involved and relocate the renters until the water issue was fixed. I’m sure there was some form of refund issued to the renters. Incredulously, the crews were back the next day, and finally located the well several hours later with the help of town employees and a site map. So, three employees spent 12 hours searching for an asset that could have been located in minutes. Town officials were taken away from their work (probably at an added cost), as was the home’s realtor.

Asset tracking is a major use case for RFID. For example, Chinese petroleum and chemical company Sinopec Shengli Oilfield has turned to RFID technology in field tests to track the downhole pipes on its onshore oil site. The use case is believed to be the first UHF RFID application of its kind in the oil and gas industry.

By embedding Xerafy RFID tags on drill pipes, the Shengli Oilfield is able to track 1,380 drill pipes at seven well sites using handheld readers and software supplied by VictorySoft. The pilot operation ran for three months, with every well opening a depth of approximately 2,500 meters.