Construction companies and maintenance organizations face a unique set of asset management and operational challenges. Acquiring material quickly, managing on-site labor, operating fleets of vehicles, and ensuring that expensive assets are secure and utilized to their full potential are daily activities on a job site. Furthermore, the ever-changing environment of construction sites introduces issues like theft, misplacement, and unauthorized use of equipment.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a proven technology for tracking valuable assets and addressing operational challenges. It offers a new way for construction companies to manage their business. RFID plays a pivotal role in improving accuracy and productivity in all phases of the construction process, including planning, building, maintenance and operating.
Having access to timely and accurate information about the location and status of critical assets, such as tools and equipment, are directly related to the successful completion of a project. Deploying an RFID system involves individually tagging each tool or piece of equipment and then outfitting warehouses, trucks or kiosks with RFID readers. A comprehensive RFID system can be implemented at a low cost to the customer and provide significant improvements across all areas of the construction process.
Tool Tracking on Vehicles
Trucks leaving work sites manually take inventory of all their equipment. Often a piece of equipment is inadvertently left behind, forcing the company to replace it. Other times, an assignment might call for a specific tool or piece of machinery that has been misplaced, wasting labor hours and wages during the search. With an RFID-enabled tool tracking solution, employees loading a truck headed to a work site can take inventory in seconds and retrieve any misplaced or forgotten items. Upon job completion, inventory can be retaken to prevent leaving valuable tools behind.
Construction Site Tool Tracking
Atlas RFID has created a tool tracking solution using ThingMagic USB Readers. Atlas’ Asset Management System (AMS) not only tracks tools and equipment, but also the personnel involved. In addition to the loss prevention and elimination of inefficiencies, Atlas AMS also has the ability to check compliance with safety regulations and inspection. When tools are passed by the self-service kiosk, this data is displayed on the user friendly touch screen, allowing a worker to take action if required.
Heavy Equipment Management
Heavy equipment providers that lease cranes, bulldozers and other machinery deploy RFID to keep track of assets and monitor their use to maximize lease revenues. In addition, these companies use RFID to keep tabs on workers to ensure both safety and productivity.
Personnel Management System
ThingMagic, a JADAK brand, designed, built and ran an RFID–based personnel management system on a large construction project in California. Just three months after going-live, the general contractor was blown away by the system benefits and the richness of the collected data. Read more about it in RFID Journal’s coverage: DPR Construction Uses RFID Building-Security Solution.
Sensors for Maintenance & Building Information Modeling
The integration of RFID and sensors into building material is finding its way into Building Information Modeling (BIM), allowing construction firms to generate and manage real-time building data during its life cycle to increase productivity in building design and construction. For example, tagging of building components allows one to perform authentication and lifetime maintenance of construction materials such as concrete blocks, steel beams, and piping. RFID in environmentally stressed materials can be monitored for the lifetime of a building, measuring strain, temperature and moisture, to deliver a profile of building with very high resolution in real-time for real-time control.