11 October 2012

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID); from building access control to the A350 XWB.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a form of Automatic Identification (Auto-ID) that uses a small wireless device that can be attached to objects or parts. It provides an accurate, automatic and a fast way to record and collect information about the object’s or part’s business activities. They are used for example for automatic payments for road charges at toll, animal tracking and for office access control.

Airbus launched the Value Chain Visibility (VCV) program to increase visibility across the lifecycle of the aircraft, using a collection of automatic identification technologies (including RFID). It is called “Airbus business radar” because its scope is the Airbus value chain, from suppliers to Airbus, between the global Airbus manufacturing sites onto airline customers and in-service partners.
It lets Airbus see what is going on digitally, automatically and in real time, so the way of working can be optimized, making the right decisions faster.
Visibility, measurability and business savings: They are all connected. All business savings come from process improvements. But we can’t improve what we can’t measure. And we can’t measure what we  can’t see.

The A350 XWB aircraft will embed RFID capabilities from day one on 3000 of its parts; Airbus became the first aircraft manufacturer to request its suppliers to add permanent RFID tags to parts (approximately 3.000 parts on each A350 XWB). These RFID tags are designed to remain with the parts throughout their entire lifecycle, in order to enable process automation and enhance the process visibility for airlines, suppliers and MRO organizations.

RFID helps automate processes by removing the need to manually (via paper or bar code) track the progress of a business process. This helps accelerate the process, reduce the cycle times and makes it more lean. Additionally, RFID enables long term improvements by allowing to automatically “see” in real-time how the processes are actually performing. As we can see very quickly what is working and what is not, it helps to take corrective actions when necessary.

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