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New low cost RTLS technology
ctive wireless tracking systems
IDENTEC SOLUTIONS has developed new
formed an Industrial Solutions Group to
provider IDENTEC SOLU- market systems to end users directly,
TIONS has developed a new
technology that offers more accurate RTLS
headed by Mike Dempsey as senior vice
RFID-based, real time location system president of sales. Dempsey is targeting
(RTLS) that can significantly lower the
with reduced infrastructure requirements
IntelliFIND at ro-ro and general cargo
cost of automated container tracking. terminals as a cost effective inventory
By putting intelligence in the tag, IDENTEC
The new system is different to cost of an accurate RTLS system under port market with this system in 2006 management solution.
SOLUTIONS says it can dramatically lower
IDENTEC’s existing asset tracking solu- the quay cranes was around $200,000. when it won the RFID component of Once tags are attached to assets, ter-
RTLS infrastructure costs
tion, IntelliFIND Mobile, a yard locate As well as offering a solution for ter- the Georgia Ports Authority’s Automated minals have two options for performing
system that uses active RFID tags and a minals like TTI looking to introduce some Terminal Asset Management System. It a yard inventory: reading the tags with a stantly surveying and updating yard posi-
reader mounted on a vehicle with GPS aspects of automated container handling, has since installed RFID systems for DP handheld or vehicle mount unit as they tions as it travels.
to track the tagged assets. IntelliFIND is the IDENTEC RTLS integrates with the World in Dubai and Australia and termi- are parked or stored in the yard; or mount- Dempsey adds that this is a low-cost
a very simple system that can be deployed IntelliFIND system that several terminals nal operators in Newark and Oakland. ing a reader on one or more vehicles fit- and “very transparent” method for auto-
in less than an hour, but the accuracy is are using to manage over the road trucks Now that it has a sizable footprint in ted with a GPS receiver. The vehicle then mating the yard inventory process and does
limited to within one or two trailer park- in the terminal. IDENTEC entered the ports and other industries, IDENTEC has becomes a “drive-by” inventory tool, con- not require any fixed infrastructure. ❏
ing slots. Applications such as identifying
the exact lane position of a straddle car-
rier or trailer underneath a quay crane
require greater accuracy that can now be
met with IDENTEC RTLS.
Reliable tracking
The RTLS was initially developed for fin-
ished vehicle logistics centres to deliver a
reliable method of tracking and locating
cars by the individual VIN number in a
yard holding thousands of vehicles. In
container terminal applications it offers a
way to accurately track container posi-
tion at points where containers are ex-
changed between handling equipment
without the “shadow” problems GPS sys-
tem have underneath cranes.
IDENTEC senior applications engi-
neer, Barry Allen, says the RTLS can pro-
vide sufficient accuracy to identify the lane,
and position in a lane when required, of
straddle carriers or chassis at a significantly
lower cost than other RLTS systems.
While other active RFID systems lo-
cate the intelligence in the readers and cen-
tral processing software, IDENTEC has
developed an active tag that can calculate
and then broadcast its own location. The
system uses a patented method called “sym-
metrical double-sided two way ranging.”
According to the patent, this method
is “symmetrical in that the measurements
from a first wireless transceiver station to
a second wireless transceiver station are a
mirror-image of the measurements from
the second wireless transceiver station to
the first wireless transceiver station; it is
double-sided in that two transceiver sta-
tions are always used for ranging meas-
urement and it is two-way in that a data
packet and an acknowledge packet are
transmitted between the wireless stations.”
Game changer
While accuracy is a key feature, Allen adds
that the real areas where the technology
is a “game changer” is in lowering the
cost and time for deployment.
Because there is no need for reference
nodes or exact synchronisation between
multiple satellites, infrastructure and hard-
ware costs are significantly reduced. The
vehicles are fitted with active RFID tags
which are “read” by readers called iSATs.
Each iSAT has a range of 150m and runs
on DC power from a solar panel, AC
power source or low-volt battery.
Connection to the backend system
can be by Ethernet, WiFi or serial GPRS,
but there is no need for civil works to
run cabling to and between the iSATs.
Having the tag do the “heavy lifting” also
has significant advantages for battery
lifecycle and RF traffic management,
Allen says. The tags can be set to locate
themselves only when required and they
can be triggered to“blink” at a pro-
grammed time interval, by motion sen-
sor or by signal from an RFID reader.
As reported in the December 2009
issue of WorldCargoNews (p2) the new
Hanjin terminal in Algeciras, operated by
Hanjin subsidiary Total Terminals Inter-
national (TTI), will be the first to use the
new system. Four iSATs mounted on the
crane legs will identify the shuttle carri-
ers under the cranes and determine their
exact lane position. According to Allen,
each shuttle carrier has an excellent line
of sight to the iSATs on the quay cranes,
with at least three and up to six iSATs in
view at any time.
The installed cost of the system is in
the region of US$10,000-20,000 per
crane and approximately US$3,000 per
shuttle carrier. In TTI’s case, the installed
February 2010 17
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