High memory RFID tags are mini-databases attached to a part
Automated Identification and Data Capture methods are used in the aerospace industry to track flyable parts throughout their lifetime. These methods include labeling parts with conventional barcodes, 2-D Data Matrix, or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Information stored on the tags is retrieved with automated readers. Standards for employing each method are outlined in the Air Transport Association’s Spec 2000, Chapter 9.
RFID has a number of advantages over barcodes and Data Matrix. In particular, because the tags use radio waves, they can be read without a direct line of sight. This is important when a part is enclosed in a compartment or the tag is difficult to locate or access, or might be covered with dirt.
In situations where only limited ATA Spec 2000 RFID birth record data needs to be recorded, the use of low-memory RFID tags is appropriate and less costly than high-memory tags. Tags with less memory run the risk of not having sufficient space for all required data fields. The birth record includes information that’s available upon the part’s manufacture.
With RFID high memory tags, the full potential of AIDC systems can be realized. The tags’ additional memory allows storage of detailed maintenance and repair records in addition to the ATA Spec 2000 RFID birth record. Maintenance information stays with the part, right where it’s needed, saving time and resources that might be used trying to track down the information. Someone who inspects or works on a part adds that information to the permanent tag. The RFID tags are durable, able to withstand extreme conditions in either non-pressurized or cabin environments.
RFID high memory tags may be thought of as miniature, portable databases that remain with an aircraft component. These databases don’t need to be connected to a network to operate, but can share data with a network when one is available.