L.B. Foster is casting an integrated circuit chip into a
specialized CXT Concrete Tie to provide Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) of their product for remote monitoring
applications. All associated component attributes are easily
retrievable in real time, enabling more efficient supply chain
and product life cycle management. This remote system tracks a
tie’s location from manufacturing through customer inventory
to track installation.
A remote search by product type, serial number or specification will return a geographic location of each tie with GPS coordinates. The search can determine tie type, reinforcement characteristics, customer and internal specifications, fastening components, material composition and part drawings.
The CXT RFID Tracker is a passive transponder and chip cast into the top surface of the concrete tie under approximately one-eighth inch of grout cover. The chip is embedded in a polymer laminate that is waterproof, shock and impact resistant, and UV protected. It has memory retention of 50 years and features an optical barcode and human-readable backup. The RFID Tracker has an operating temperature range of -50 C to +85 C.
Each time the RFID tie is scanned, information such as, date, time, user ID, and GPS coordinates are uploaded to a database via a wireless network or Wi-Fi internet connection and associated to the tie’s unique serial number. Online map indicators present GPS coordinates of a product search query and provide detailed product information for the user.
Data capture in the plant is via mobile handheld devices, such as Apple iPads. Personnel can easily retrieve relevant drawings and specification documentation from the engineering database. In track, automated RFID readers are attached to rail mounted equipment. CXT’s RFID Tracker will increase the railroads’ productivity by improving communication between all the players in the product life cycle.