Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is growing in popularity in the airline industry as a way to track and store information about aircraft part.
Although barcodes and 2D Data Matrix codes are frequently used as well, RFID offers several advantages. In particular, a line of sight is not required to read RFID tags. So for example, if an item is behind a panel, as might be the case with oxygen equipment stored in overhead bins, its RFID tag can be read without opening the bin. RFID tags work in pressurized and non-pressurized areas, and can withstand harsh conditions.
Procedures for tracking aircraft parts are spelled out in ) Air Transport Association standards. As outlined in ATA Spec 2000, RFID tags, barcodes or 2D Data Matrix codes may be used for identification purposes.
RFID tags can hold substantially more data than the other methods. At minimum, they will contain the “birth record” of the part they’re labeling, including the company that made the part, the date it was manufactured, serial number, part number and country of origin. High-memory RFID tags have room for more information, which might include service records.
Special software has been designed to take advantage of high-memory RFID tags’ greater data capacity.