RFID Solution: Do You Know Where Your Equipment is? Redback Does!

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RFID Solution: Do You Know Where Your Equipment is? Redback Does!

Redback Energy Services is reducing labor hours and improving efficiency as it assigns, ships and receives back the rental equipment that its oil and gas customers use, thanks to a recently deployed RFID solution.

According to technology provider A2B Tracking, an inventory-counting process that previously took one week and had the potential for errors can now be accomplished within a single hour. The solution consists of UHF RFID tags epoxied to heavy equipment, a Zebra Technologies RFD8500 handheld reader and an app to enable data regarding goods being rented out or received.
Redback Energy Services is a rental equipment and service provider for the oil and gas industry. Each year, the company provides thousands of pieces of equipment, including separators, phalanges and valves, as well as large items such as trailers used by companies that produce natural gas or crude oil. The firm covers Oklahoma and Texas with a main distribution center, in addition to several satellite locations nearer to the sites where the equipment is used.

After customers place orders, Redback Energy Services can deliver those goods to their sites as needed, or customers can pick up the equipment themselves. These customers consist of oil and gas companies, as well as contractors for those businesses. Goods can often move from one site to another as they are returned from customers, maintained, inspected and made available for another project or customer.
Tracking each item and its status is a complex task that was performed manually, while inventory-counting checks of all the assets at all sites was carried out at least quarterly. The company must meet the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s requirement that full physical inventories be counted every quarter and every year, and they must keep track not only of their physical inventory but also the value of those goods on a balance sheet. When the inventory counts are conducted manually, the process is time-consuming, requiring approximately a week of counting and reconciling, and has the potential for errors.
The company approached A2B Tracking in 2018 to find a solution, according to Daniela Zounek, A2B’s senior implementation engineer, and the system was taken live in spring of that year. The solution is now live at its central site in Elk City, Okla., as well as at several other sites around Oklahoma and Texas.
The greatest challenge for the deployment, according to the company, was to ensure that each unique piece of equipment could be properly tagged, and that every tag could be reliably read. Because of the harsh environment involved, the tags were epoxied into place.
While Redback Energy already captures and stores photos of equipment linked the RFID tag data, the energy services company could opt in the future to store other documentation about products in the software, along with their inspection and maintenance histories, thereby automating data related to maintenance tracking.

There’s room for more expansion within the system,

Zounek says, to use all the features available.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: A2B Tracking

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