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RFID Tags Work For Waste

UPDATED: Executives at Axcess International don't mind their work being a waste. In fact, that's what it's all about in a new deal between the active radio frequency identification (RFID) systems developer and Bechtel Hanford.

The Dallas-based company's wireless system is used by the Bechtel-led Environmental Restoration (ER) project team to track low-level and hazardous waste from multiple cleanup sites along the Columbia River in Washington.

The trucks used at the Bechtel cleanup site will manage and transport nearly 1 million tons of low-level and hazardous waste this year. An average of 200 truckloads, or about 4,000 tons of waste, are disposed of daily at the site. Drivers will log nearly 1 million miles transporting waste.

"Waste management and transportation is a core process in our work to clean up Hanford's Columbia River corridor," Julie Atwood, waste operations project manager for Bechtel, said in a statement. "A critical part of this work is being able to determine what the waste is, whether it is acceptable for disposal at the [site] and accurately track and record waste from cradle to grave."

By installing Axcess' active RFID tags on the trucks, identification is automatic and waste weight is logged into an integrated database that serves the entire project. Before installing the system, drivers had to leave their trucks and manually key in the driver and truck identification number when entering the weight scales.

"While the previous system we used met our customer's requirements, workers had to manually enter, review and correct data throughout the process," Atwood said. "We knew we could improve efficiency and accuracy by automating the process, which will improve our effectiveness in cleaning up the river corridor."

Allan Griebenow, president and CEO of Axcess, said the project is another step forward for multiple tag technology.

The Axcess system uses small, battery-powered RFID tags to transmit wireless messages to small receivers with a typical range of 30 to 100 feet. The receivers are connected to existing security alarm systems or networked on a corporate network.

"[Active tags] really integrate into an IP-based system," Griebenow told internetnews.com. "The technology intersects with the supply chain. Active RFID provides for automatic data collection and expands the data coming into the system."

According to Axcess, the active RFID system can also be used to trigger security video recordings and live remote video transmissions. In addition, the tags can be used for automatic personnel and vehicle access to facilities, corporate-asset tracking and protection, as well as special-purpose sensing. Automatic e-mail alerting and paging is offered for rapid response to security incidents.

"We designed the system to be integrated into a variety of applications through the use of standard hardware and software interfaces," Ben Donohue, an Axcess executive, said.