RFID in Aerospaceadio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the wireless utilization of electromagnetic fields to migrate data with emphasis on automatically selecting and monitoring tags linked to objects. The tags consist of electronic data.
RFID tags come in two different forms:
Passive tags don’t have a battery. The reader supplies the power to the tag which is stored in a capacitor. As soon as radio waves created by a reader get detected by a passive RFID tag, the tag’s antenna creates a magnetic field that delivers power to the circuit. The tag then releases the data embedded in the tag’s memory. The latest passive tags utilize a battery-assisted passive (BAP) having a minute battery on board that gets activated in the presence of a RFID reader. Passive RFID tags can transmit signals for few meters. Aircraft parts utilize such tags (no battery).
These tags consist of an on-board battery that relays the signal (exists between three and eight years). They periodically broadcast a coded signal that is decoded by a reader. They can track several materials (300 feet). This removes the requirement of making inventory audits. They can utilize several wireless technologies - Wi-Fi, short range radio, cellular to transmit signals.
In the last 10 years, radio-frequency identification (RFID) has found its way into different functions pertaining to aerospace sector. Currently, RFID tags have been supplementing/replacing bar codes on expensive aircraft parts (latest aircraft models), storing parts records on aircrafts. At a time when prevalent connectivity is furnishing aviation personnel an opportunity to access information from any location, RFID assists in monitoring assets remotely.
Aerospace Related Standards
For any technology to flourish in a given sector, standardized policies must exist. Regulatory guidance in aviation is critical. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has furnished an advisory circular on applying RFID tags on working aircraft - AC 20-162. It enables aircrafts to utilize the technology without the need for requalifying the aircraft. There are several standards that have been elucidated for using RFID in the aerospace sector. The two most prominent ones are ATA and EPC Global. The use of RFID in the aerospace sector has been slow.
Aircraft parts are proving to be a critical market in aviation for RFID technology, while critical parts on modern aircrafts are being tagged. Airbus and Boeing have come up with RFID based projects. RFID application providers have over a period of time reduced costs and enhanced the competencies of tags expeditiously in the recent past. Critical data related to an asset can be maintained in the asset. This eliminates the need to conduct a database lookup. RFID has penetrated the commercial aviation sector. It has modified the manner in which aircraft would be managed and components would be monitored.