Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

L. Hemels The Use of RFID in Maintenance
Literature survey, Report 2007.TEL.7130, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

The up and coming technology of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has taken the world by storm. In the field of maintenance it has revolutionized the process and things are now possible that previously could only be dreamed of. If only this were true.

From the manufactures of hard- and software all kind of claims are made on what RFID can do and already is doing. This could be the case, but it is more likely that these stories are intended to give the technology a sales boost after the companies have been investing in it for years. What it has achieved is a very unclear market. In this report an analysis is made of the current state of the application of RFID for maintenance purposes and how revolutionary this technology is.

The maintenance process is limited to machines and objects and an analysis is made of the applied maintenance strategy and the maintenance step in which RFID is used. From an RFID point of view a distinction is made between the signal complexity, system organization and the communication direction.

A dataset consisting of seven articles on the use of RFID for maintenance purposes is used for the analysis. They are categorized by their maintenance and RFID characteristics. This results in an overview from which it is concluded that RFID does offer interesting solutions in both the measuring as the supportive step, but it does not revolutionize the process. Especially in the supportive step the greatest improvements are the result of a better designed maintenance process which is also possible without RFID.

In the measuring step the lifespan, reliability and reading distance can be improved of the tags, but the biggest improvements must come from the sensors and other hardware. Basically the tags are wireless communication devises which are not unique in their capabilities. At this moment they have a certain advantage due to the publicity they receive.

RFID is an interesting technology which will likely be more often applied in the future, but no revolutionary achievements are to be expected from the technology itself.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2007.03.14; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.