MITRE Tracks Tools and Equipment with Passive and Active RFID

RFID equipment tool trackingThe MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization chartered to work in the public interest.  The company had an ongoing problem with tracking and locating very expensive lab equipment, such as oscilloscopes, used in their lab facilities by scientists and engineers.  Once taken from a central repository, the equipment would often go missing for a variety of reasons–such as loaning equipment to your coworkers and counting on them to return equipment after use.    Once the equipment was lost within a building and/or buildings,  it would become exceptionally difficult in trying to find the equipment.  As a result there would then be many man hours spent trying to locate the equipment, having to purchase more equipment, and potentially delay projects as well.

MITRE’s large facilities needed a “best of breed” solution for their complex requirements.

MITRE needed a solution which could locate their mission critical assets (equipment), and also something less expensive for their “non critical” Assets.  Furthermore, they needed technology that would not significantly interfere with their ongoing internal engineering and testing.

Silent Partner Technologies Provides the Solution

For the “mission critical” Assets SPT provided the following features and functions:

Long Range Active Solution

  • Long Range Active solution, with a Tag read range of 1,700 feet in open space.
  • As a direct result of the “long range technology”, the impacts on the MITRE infrastructure requirements are minimized–essentially far less cabling.
  • The technology used is 915Mhz and does not interfere with any of the “Wi-Fi” networks.
  • Tags function in a response mode as opposed to just beacon mode.  As such they are “asleep” until they are asked to turn on and speak–such as a “roll call”.  This was a “key benefit” for MITRE as they wanted minimal RF noise in their buildings.
  • Real-Time Inventory.  At any time, MITRE with a push of a Button can take a “Real-Time Inventory” of their Assets without any human participation, other than the push of a button on a PC.
  • Tags have a battery life of up to 10 years.
  • SPT provided a simple solution for locating the Assets, by placing a simple “exciter” (requires nothing more than AC Power), whereby as Assets pass by the “exciter”, the Tags then transmit their exact location.  As such we always know the last seeing location.
  • Application is “browser based”, and thus easier to manage and implement across many buildings.

For the non-mission critical Assets, SPT used the less expensive UHF Passive Technology.

Short Range Passive Solution

  • Because of the different size of equipment, SPT provided a “variety” of Industrial Passive Tags, ranging from “micro technology” Tags that would read at eight feet, to larger Tags that would read at 30-35 feet.
  • SPT provided Portals so that as a Cart filled with equipment past thru a hall way, we would read all of the Tags on the Cart, and update system with “last seeing location” of all Assets.
  • Above and beyond the Portals, SPT also provided an RFID PDA application so that MITRE can perform physical counts on an as need basis.

SPT delivered a successful implementation using a wide range of equipment tracking solutions for MITRE’s needs.  The RFID asset tracking system provides 100% visibility to all equipment in facility with reports and inquiries that include; where is item now, item history, usage of equipment, and who used it. Now projects are starting faster and no time wasted searching uselessly.