Boeing and FedEx have launched an in-service evaluation of active radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on some airplane parts for a MD-10 freighter. Tests will also identify potential electromagnetic interference.
Active RFID tags are expected to have many benefits over bar codes to help track parts. The active, battery-powered tags, designed by Identec Solutions, contain a microchip and a transmitter. Their read range is 300 feet, 30 times that of a passive tag. Compared to bar codes, RFID tags have no line-of-sight requirement for reading. Moreover, they have dynamic read/write capability.
They store data such as part and serial number, as well as date of installation. Users can add maintenance data to better understand their consumption of parts.
FedEx says RFID can reduce the aircraft records department’s workload significantly. The 120-day evaluation will end in mid-September.