How Solar Powered RFID Can Monitor Assets on Remote Sites
By: Zahir Abji
Each year, up to $1 billion in construction equipment is lost nationwide. Equipment at greatest risk includes light utility vehicles, work trucks, backhoe loaders, generators, air compressors, welders, skid steers and wheel loaders. Most equipment is stored on job sites, outdoors, often without access to power sources.
Solar RFID systems have overcome some common obstacles to securing construction sites by powering wireless equipment-identification technology with solar panels. Solar-powered RFID offers inexpensive, simple implementation of systems that provide construction sites and equipment yards with constant visibility of equipment that carries RFID tags. Plus, if tagged equipment is moved during non-working hours, security alerts can be sent to appropriate personnel. The RFID equipment itself is protected from theft when a tag with a motion sensor is placed on all readers.
One facility that implemented GuardRFID’s AllGuard system reported in the first month of use that an excavator, bucket and other accessories had attempted to leave the premises without authorization. The RFID system prevented a potential $445,000 loss.
Solar RFID provides effective, low-cost monitoring of high-value equipment assets on remote sites and yards that may not be permanent and don’t have ample access to power.
Active RFID systems, used for real-time location (RTLS), are made up of a network of readers installed in the monitored area that receive signals from radio tags placed on equipment or people. Data is maintained in a computer database. Periodic beacons update the status of radio tags constantly. Tags are equipped with motion sensors that transmit the sensor’s status whenever motion is detected, or when there has been a lack of motion for a predefined time.
A temporary construction site can be equipped with several self-powered wireless readers to create a local network to monitor the site. Industrial or personnel active tags placed on equipment or people to be monitored. Readers can communicate wirelessly with a central communications hub on the property; collected data is forwarded to a company’s cloud-based middleware server by cellular data or satellite communications. Low frequency zones can be created at strategic locations – such as an exit, gated or not – to instantaneously detect tagged equipment leaving the site. This should provide warnings in the event of an unauthorized removal. Solar-powered readers can come with backup batteries with up to a seven-day lifespan.
Fully wireless and powered by solar energy, solar RFID systems provide construction sites with a new alternative to preventing expensive equipment losses by providing presence detection and zonal location information in real time.