Wednesday, May 1, 2013

TegoView streamlines ATA Spec 2000 RFID compliance

The Air Transport Association’s Spec 2000 standards call for labeling of aircraft parts so they can be tracked throughout their lifetime. RFID is an increasingly popular method of doing this, as the tags can be read with an automated reader without a direct line of site to the tag. The tags are durable and can withstand a range of environments. In addition, RFID tags are available with different amounts of memory. The high-memory tags in particular are able to contain more information than other types of labels. ATA Spec 2000 contains a number of details that must be followed in using these RFID systems, including entering specified data onto the tag in a prescribed format.

TegoView software can help simplify ATA Spec 2000 RFID compliance. In fact, Tego worked with other aerospace industry leaders to help develop ATA Spec 2000 RFID standards.

TegoView software works with a wide range of RFID readers including hand-held models. The software can be used from the very first step in the RFID tagging process. Even before the tag is affixed to the part, TegoView will record the part’s “birth record” onto the tag — information known at the time of the part’s manufacture. Later, maintenance updates can be written to the tag. Part information can be read and recorded in the field using a hand-held RFID reader equipped with TegoView — a network connection is not required. Yet TegoView can also be integrated into existing data systems.

Saving money, improving efficiency
The need for expensive “middleware” software is eliminated with TegoView. And because maintenance crews have immediate access to detailed part history, decisions about the part can be made quickly, which also saves time and money for an organization. For airlines, flight delays may be reduced and customer satisfaction increased.

TegoView software can report changes in a part’s condition, modification to the part, change in custody and removal from service. It can also indicate how much of a tag’s memory has been used and how much is still available. Parts can be searched for and located using information from their history. Another TegoView benefit is that the software can generate pre-configured automated reports. Built-in diagnostic features are also provided.

RFID solutions that incorporate TegoView lead to better asset management and lower inventory costs. Maintenance and repair is streamlined and less costly. And at the same time, Spec 2000 requirements are met much more easily.

IUID standards have common purpose

NATO’s ability to bring together the military forces of its 28 member countries to achieve a common goal is extremely powerful. There are, of course, a number of challenges when it comes to joining many disparate organizations to work together. One area where this becomes apparent is in the sharing of defense equipment. It can be difficult for just one defense department to keep track of all its assets, which may have lifetimes of decades and are spread among worldwide operations. Loaning the equipment to other organizations adds an additional layer of complexity.

Defense departments are turning to unique identification of items (IUID) to help solve the problem of tracking assets. Equipment that has a certain value and/or is considered mission critical receives an identifier that is globally unique and remains with the item for its entire life. Governments have developed standards that apply to all aspects of IUID labeling. In the U.S., the standard is MIL-STD-130; the U.K. has DEF STAN 05-132.

NATO has issued its own standards to bring even more consistency to IUID systems. The organization has released the Allied Unique Identification of Items Publication, or AUIDP-1, and an associated document, STANAG 2290. Individual defense departments refer to the NATO standards when developing their own IUID standards.

Topics covered by IUID standards such as MIL-STD-130, DEF STAN 05-132 and STANAG 2290 include what information to include in an item’s unique identifier and how the information should be formatted. The identifier is encoded in a 2D Data Matrix symbol that is either applied directly to the item or attached via a label or plate. The symbol is read using an IUID scanner. It’s crucial that departments use the same identifier format so the information can be read and interpreted by all users.
The standards address the appropriate size of the Data Matrix symbol and where it should be placed on the item it is identifying. There are also methods spelled out for verification of the data matrix symbol, to ensure it is readable.

The similar, but not identical standards for IUID labeling, along with the complexity of each, can be confusing for a contractor supplying equipment to a defense department. Consulting with a company that is an expert in this field may help. For example, ID-Integration Inc. has more than 12 years of experience in IUID systems and is well-versed in the various standards including DEF STAN 05-132 and STANAG 2290. For more information, visit