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  2. 2. INTRODUCTIONAUTHOR Jörn GroteRFID, BARCODES & MOBILE SOLUTIONS:PATHS TOWARDS INTELLIGENT MAINTENANCEThe intelligent maintenance concept has not lost any of its relevance and wasintensively discussed in all its facets at the "RFID, Barcodes & More"conference. Technical details, single solutions and the interaction with co-workers during an introduction of RFID all had their place at the event. This insight report introduces current developments in intelligent maintenance which both users and providers are currently involved in. The first article, a conference report, examines to what extent intelligent maintenance has established itself. It focuses on RFID technology which, however, is still uncertain to flourish in wide areas of all industries. The second article examines the relationship of RFID to barcodes. The third article details data collected in our study and clearly supports the trend that the use of RFID is increasing. The report concludes by including experiences that have been gathered in practice.Presentation by Harald Neuhaus, Aluminium Norf GmbH, Neuss,leader of central installation technology, Chairman of the Board of Another important aspect of the conference wasFVI e.V. the presentation of products and technologies inOn the 27th and 28th of September 2010 the 6th the context of the conference lectures and inFVI Annual RFID Forum took place at the Hilton discussions between users, potential customersHotel in Cologne. At the conference, titled “RFID, and suppliers. Taking this aspect into account aBarcodes & Mobile Solutions: Paths Towards further report deals with the recent activity ofIntelligent Maintenance”, participants from various RFID suppliers addressing maintenance met to inform themselves about the Other innovative products, which have originatedlatest developments in intelligent maintenance. with end users, are also presented.Also present was T.A. Cook’s Research & Studies Rounding up, this Insight report takes a look at theteam, both to present their latest study for RFID legal aspects of RFID usage and its future withuse in maintenance, titled “RFID Best Practice”, SAP maintenance Asset Management (MAM).and to monitor market activities.CONTENTSState of RFID ................................................................................................................................. 3Coexistence of Barcodes and RFID ................................................................................................... 4RFID usage is increasing ................................................................................................................. 5“RFID Best Practice” study............................................................................................................... 6Maintenance customers as a target group ......................................................................................... 7Innovation from practice ................................................................................................................. 8Mobile maintenance helps RFID break through .................................................................................. 9Legal aspects raise questions ......................................................................................................... 10SAP MAM: uncertain future ............................................................................................................ 11 2 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  3. 3. CONFERENCE REPORTAUTHOR Jörn GroteSTATE OF RFIDRFID in maintenance is no longer just theory but daily practice. Theconference showed in a very impressive manner that users come from a widerange of industries. However, to establish RFID as an industry-wide standardwe must intensify the exchange of experiences. hours examining each individual vest they can do the job within a few minutes on a single tour. This example demonstrates that meaningful use of RFID can reduce staff’s regular workload. The conference also showed that despite the same targets the features of the individual solutions turned out to be very different. This is exactly where the conference performed well because if there is one thing that must be expanded and strengthened it is the exchange of RFID users’ Frank Bruderreck, Evonik Energy Services GmbH, system technologies leader of the MTR (Maintenance Team RFID) experiences. Standardised RFID solutions have yet team, FVI to appear in the industry. The overall focus of the event was intelligent The differences in functionality andmaintenance. However, RFID was a specific theme implementation offer a significant potentialof many presentations. If the conference showed opportunity. After all, users already have ITone thing, it was that RFID technology has now infrastructures in place and additional RFIDarrived in maintenance. The RFID discussions are systems are much easier to implement as add-onsno longer dominated by potential applications; than to introduce a new system. In this reportinstead they are now about practical users can learn from each other to get to knowimplementation issues. This means that the former other uses of RFID.hype has cooled down and shows also that RFID isactually being used in practice. The fact that RFIDcannot meet all expectations and is not thesolution to all problems has yet to be recognised.However, the practical experience from recentyears shows that the hype was not entirelyunfounded.Opportunities to simply optimise existing processesare limited. For example, it is impossible tocompletely avoid errors in the transmission andidentification of assets in manual maintenancework. With RFID supported processes this ispossible. View into the audience However, this does not make a paean promotingblind adoption of technology. There are steps thatare more suitable for automated systems but theycan only support people’s work. Companies thathave realised this successfully use RFID. Forexample, Lufthansa has drastically simplified theinspection of the life vests in aircrafts throughRFID use. Instead of employees having to spend 3 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  4. 4. CONFERENCE REPORTAUTHOR Mateus SiwekCOEXISTENCE OF BARCODES AND RFIDIntelligent maintenance is not the domain of a single technology. RFID andbarcodes both have their own advantages. In practice it is about finding theright solution for a company; barcode, RFID or another alternative. RFID was only one aspect of the intelligentmaintenance conference. Frank Matheußik fromNBB Netzgesellschaft Berlin-Brandenburg andMarian Pufahl of SD&C presented a choice ofmobile workforce management systems offering achoice of RFID and barcodes. Rainer Brenk-Ortolf,head of the department of mobile business atBegis mbH also dealt with the differences betweenRFID and barcodes. The consensus among theconference participants was that RFID will notreplace barcodes. Each have their places. The firstquestion is always what should be achieved andwhat solutions are most suitable. Depending onthe answers to those questions, differenttechnologies can be considered. Frank Matheußik, NBB Netzgesellschaft Berlin-Brandenburg mbH & Co. KG, and Marian Pufahl, IT Consultant, SD&C Solutions Development & Consulting GmbHAs Rainer Brenk-Ortolf of BEGIS mbH mentionedhowever, it is clear that there is a growing interestin RFID. One reason for this is the range ofpossibilities enabled by use of RFID solutions. Inparticular, recording information on assets’ RFIDtags is of interest to maintenance workers, whousually have to work with offline solutions. And inharsh industrial environments RFID offers a clearadvantage over other solutions due to itsrobustness.Despite this positive development RFID has not yetwidely established itself. The interest is there butmany companies shy away from RFID deploymentbecause of lack of experience. The costs of RFIDare also viewed critically however; this is not themain reason why users decide against RFID. Rainer Brenk-Ortolf, head of department Mobile Business, Begis mbHUnlike five years ago, many providers of RFIDsolutions and technology can now providereferences from maintenance departments. Thechoice of a competent implementation partner will,in future, be even more important. 4 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  5. 5. STUDYAUTHOR Jörn GroteRFID USAGE IS INCREASINGMateus Siwek of T.A. Cook introduced the first results of a recent best practicestudy about the use of RFID in maintenance. The results of the study clearlyshow that RFID use is increasing in maintenance. For T.A. Cook’s RFID Best Practice study around350 interviews were conducted, 73 of which werewith companies that currently use RFID inmaintenance The number of RFID projectsstarting up has significantly increased over recentyears. Only eight percent of all RFID projectsbegan between 2000 and 2005 whereas in thethree years between 2005 and 2008 44 percent ofall current RFID projects started. Between 2008and 2010 another strong increase is visible. Introduction of planned RFID projects Of those companies not currently using RFID in maintenance almost half (45%) of them are planning projects. Of these, 65 percent have concrete plans for the use of RFID in the next five years. Practical Experiences Now that RFID projects are no longer determinedIntroduction of existing RFID projects solely by technical considerations the topic of dealing with unions and staff has become more significant. This can become a problem but doesHowever, RFID concerns are normally not over not have to be one. As Dr. Frank Müller of Solvaywith the introduction of a solution. If an RFID noted, it is important to communicate right fromsolution is judged positively then companies often the beginning openly and transparently about whatfind other areas to deploy RFID. The majority of is planned. To include the union early allows themRFID users are planning to extend existing RFID to recognise that RFID is no risk to the Otherwise it is easy to give the opposite impression. The question of processes is also of particular importance during the introduction of RFID. One approach is simply to let certain manual work processes be taken over by RFID. However, the process remains unchanged and it does not take advantage of the full potential for efficiency improvement. If RFID is introduced in this manner the value achieved remains far below expectations.Expansion of existing RFID projects To actually exploit the full efficiency savings, companies should conduct a process analysis and clarify how the process can be improved. From this the requirements for the technology can be effectively derived. The search and selection of 5 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  6. 6. technical components should be a significantconsideration. One of the biggest changes that the introductionof RFID makes is a significant improvement in thedatabase. This enables proactive maintenanceprocesses that, due to previously inadequatedatabases, could only be reactive before. Forexample, thanks to an improved database failuretimes can be forecast and spare parts can beprocured in advance, rather than responding to Mateus Siwek, Research Consultant, T.A. Cookfailures as needed."RFID BEST PRACTICE":RFID USAGE IN MAINTENANCEAlthough the possibilities of implementing RFID solutions are now well known, manycompanies still have questions. Especially in the field of maintenance, there is littleinformation available. This study aims to close this gap in the future.The study answers the following questions:» What benefits do companies generate by using RFID in maintenance?» What RFID solutions are available?» How expensive are RFID projects and applications?» How fast can RFID solutions be installed?» What challenges arise during the implementation of an RFID project?» What maintenance applications or processes is RFID used for?» How are business processes changed by introducing RFID?» What are the prerequisites for a successful RFID implementation?» What technologies are suitable for RFID solutions? A large part of the study addresses case studies that show specifically the use of RFID in maintenance. It offers the maintenance industry a practice oriented set of examples for practical implementations. The study offers the reader the chance to assess the feasibility, cost estimation and cost-benefit analysis of RFID implementations. To support this there is a study document and a cost calculation tool enclosed. "RFID Best Practice: RFID Usage in Maintenance" can be ordered online at The study costs 1.500 Euro (plus Vat.). Survey participants will receive a discount of 10 percent.RESEARCH & STUDIEST.A. Cook’s Research & Studies department focuses on detailed market and company analysis in thecontext of asset performance management. The team focuses on analysing current markets, anticipatingdevelopments and assessing their consequences for participants in the market. In addition to themedstudies, we develop trend reports and maintain specialised knowledge databases which can be used tosupport specially-commissioned studies.Contact: Mateus Siwek,, Tel.: +49 (0)30 - 8843070 6 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  7. 7. EXHIBITORAUTHOR Mateus SiwekMAINTENANCE CUSTOMERS AS A TARGET GROUPRFID Providers have recognised that maintenance teams represent animportant target group. Many requirements for which a few years ago therewere no suitable products are now covered by the providers’ productportfolios.A few years ago maintenance managers haddifficulties finding tailored solutions to suit theirneeds; but today the situation has now changed.In particular, RFID tags used to be more tailoredto the needs of trade and logistics than the harshenvironmental conditions in industry. AttachingRFID tags to metal surfaces presented problems inthe past as this interfered with reading data.However, several of today’s solution providerssuch as Meshed Systems, microsensys, Smart-Tec,TNB an others now supply RFID tags that functionwithout problems on metal surfaces. Almost allmanufacturers of RFID tags currently offer Exhibition stand for Evonik Energy Services GmbHvariations to suit heavy industries. These work in awide temperature range and are protected fromdirt, dust and liquids.Maintenance teams also require ATEX certifiedRFID tags. These are already available frommanufacturers such as Tectus, microsenys andTrovan. At the conference, however, it was notedthat these RFID tags only have an ATEX category2 certification. For practical application, ATEXcategory 1 certified RFID tags are necessary butnot yet available.In addition to the RFID tags, mobile readersdominated most discussion themes. An array ofvery different experiences was made using PDAs, Exhibition stand of mircrosensys GmbHcell phones and tablet PCs. Each of these variantshad their advocates. One user said that given thesmall size of the keys only the tablet PCs arepractical. For other users, these were notsuccessful because of the weight and size.Users’ experience indicates that the choice ofreader should be made in consultation withemployees. It is the employees that ultimately usethe equipment and thus guarantee the success ofthe project. Exhibition stand of Movilitas Consulting AG 7 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  8. 8. CONFERENCE REPORTAUTHOR Jörn GroteINNOVATION FROM PRACTICEThe further development of RFID technology in maintenance is not only beingdriven by the suppliers. Users also initiate the development of new productsmotivated by their needs or ideas and from their use of the technology.The many demands on maintenance requireconstant innovations. If the RFID tags do notmatch the specific needs of a user, they oftendevelop a customised solution in collaboration withthe provider. One example was a collaborationbetween Lufthansa, Hartig and the FrauenhoferInstitute for Integrated Circuits, which producedthe first air transport approved RFID tag. Thistransponder also works outside the cabin and isused for permanent identification of aircraftcomponents.Other solution providers also reported thatcollaborations between users and providers led tomarketable, competitive RFID solutions. V-RFID usage in practiceIdeas for improvements and suggestions forfurther applications often come directly frompractice. Once the employees are convinced of theadvantages of RFID technology, they often provideuseful information for further development. AtEvonik, for example, normal RFID tags weredeveloped further into visual RFID tags. The ideathat it might be possible to see the information onthe RFID tags without a reading device led to thisnew development. This “V-RFID” displays basicinformation about the asset it is attached to. Theycan be used for activating electrical systems or forperiodic inspections and maintenance. Evonikplans in the future to offer the V-RFID as a distinctproduct. At the exhibition stand of Evonik Energy Services GmbH 8 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  9. 9. MARKET TRENDAUTHOR Mateus SiwekMOBILE MAINTENANCE HELPS RFID BREAKTHROUGHSeven of the 20 presentations and discussions at the conference dealt in partor completely with the practice of mobile maintenance. As the “RFID BestPractice” study shows, the greatest interest both for current and future userslies in mobile solutions.Usage and planning of RFID in Maintenance / Source: T.A. Cook “RFID Best Practice” 2010Fixed mounted reader devices, called ‘gates’, limits Because of these advantages mobile readingthe use of RFID to small objects that can be taken devices are often used where not absolutelypast them. The introduction of mobile reading necessary. For example, in repair shops whichdevices first made the use of RFID tags on objects receive the tagged objects to be read.of all sizes possible. Moreover, mobile readingdevices eliminate costly transportation to The flexibility of mobile reading devices for readingpermanently mounted readers. the RFID tags anywhere has led to the increased use of RFID in maintenance. 9 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  10. 10. CONFERENCE REPORTAUTHOR Mateus SiwekLEGAL ASPECTS RAISE QUESTIONSOne topic that was of great interest for many visitors to the conference wasthe legal side of RFID use. What statutory documentation requirements arethere and how does RFID data relate to data protection?One advantage of RFID is the improved control ofactivities carried out by a maintenance engineer.There were different views amongst theconference participants on whether and to whatextent these readings meet the legaldocumentation requirements of inspections. Someusers reported experiences showing that RFIDreadings are not an acceptable solution for legaldocumentation. They continue to produce awritten and signed document as a form ofevidence. Other users reported that their legaldepartments had decided that an RFID solution’srecords sufficed as proof of statutory inspections. Jürgen Alexander Lehmann, organisations developer and coach, XployAnother difficult issue is employee monitoring.Theoretically, RFID solutions offer an exact insightto what staff members did at what times.However, from a data protection point of view thisis very dubious. In such cases unions can claimthat the accurate performance monitoring ofemployees is not possible. The discussionsamongst the conference participants showed thatthe approaches differ toward internal and externalemployees. More data is collected on externalemployees to enable more accurate invoicing. Inthis context the question arose about where todraw the line between internal and externalemployees.The lively discussion in the plenum made it clearthat all questions concerning the legal aspects of Reiner Pape, mechanics planning, Roche Diagnostics GmbHall usage of RFID solutions are far from beinganswered. 10 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance
  11. 11. CONFERENCE REPORTAUTHOR Jörn GroteSAP MAM: UNCERTAIN FUTUREThe announcement made by SAP that SAP MAM will not be developed furtherhas caused considerable uncertainty among users. Are there viablealternatives for use in RFID solutions or should we continue to rely on SAP?As the graphic from the “RFID Best Practice” study During the panel discussion, conferenceshows that the cost of interface programming and participants also reviewed whether the use ofthe development of middleware are the highest alternatives to SAP MAM is advisable. It becamecosts of introducing RFID. Taking this background clear that many companies which already use SAPinto account the announcement made by SAP not software in other areas would prefer an SAPto develop SAP MAM further is a matter of concern companies. Since the choice of software to be used is vital toAt the conference it was made clear that this does the long term success of an RFID project thenot mean the software will be abandoned. On the participants regarded the current situation as beingcontrary, SAP considers MAM to be mature. This unfavourable. Prof. Karsten Huffstadt of theclarification could not however, satisfactorily University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-resolve the uncertainty on the part of those Schweinfurt advised the delegates to defer thepresent. There were complaints that SAP has not choice of software until the end of the yearcommunicated transparently on how their because by then further announcements from SAPcommitment to the maintenance arena and mobile will have been will continue. In particular this causes aproblem for companies that have to decide ontheir software for an upcoming RFID project. Introducing RFID: cost factors / source: T.A. Cook “RFID Best Practice” 2010 11 T.A. Cook Consultants Insight Report 01 – 12/2010 | RFID, barcodes & mobile solutions: paths towards intelligent maintenance