Many businesses have a pools of high value test equipment and use special tools which are essential but shared resources. Locating them when required can be a time wasting expensive chore, leading to costly delays. Codegate's recent pioneering development work with some blue chip companies is showing that with better visibility assets can not only be found quickly when required, but asset utilisation can be improved by typically 30% and asset purchasing can be reduced by 30%.
Codegate has piloted a cloud based real time tracking solution that enables technicians and engineers to immediately locate where any asset is. This is achieved by fitting each asset with an active RFID tag, a battery powered identification device that can be detected by a radio receiver 50 - 300m away, depending upon the structure of the building. The tags can also re-transmit a signal from an infrared beacon which will narrow the location down to a rack, room, or zone within a room.
A variety of tag types are available, suitable for both assets and personnel. The typical battery life is over 4 years, after which, for some variants the low cost disc cells can be replaced. The 433MHz RFID readers connect over Ethernet or WiFi to local or remote servers, giving real time rack / room / zone location data for each asset. The RFID tags can also sense environmental parameters including temperature, pressure, and whether or not something is opened or closed. This can be useful to indicate refrigerator usage for example.
Codegate's software collects data in the cloud via a gateway, then filters and stores important information as required. Users and administrators can then view the information any time, anywhere, via a web portal.
By knowing where each asset is, time wasted searching for them, emailing colleagues etc, was drastically reduced. There was however a bigger benefit to management - the data was used to assist in evaluating asset utilisation. Anecdotally, in cases where the company owned multiple assets of the same type, the management were able to remove 30% of those assets without any loss of availability to the users. Projecting forward re-purchases of the same assets could be correspondingly reduced by 30%. Over three years such savings are highly significant. Codegate's tracking software also offers options for managing testing, planned maintenance and certification of assets, alerting when equipment is in need of recalibration.
Codegate is currently working with partners on further enhancements to the system to improve the quality of utilisation data and to reduce or eliminate the need for a battery by using energy harvesting.