The Real-Time Goods Management project uses radio frequency identification tags to track goods within one of the squadron’s facilities. RFID tags serve across a variety of applications, ranging from tolling autos to department store security. Hospitals, for example, implant RFID tags on babies for security purposes.
The tags convey information to an RFID reader through radio waves. Because these tags lack their own power source, they rely on the energy transmitted from the reader. When the reader emits a radio signal, the tag’s antenna receives it and then transmits back a unique identifier to the reader.
The project’s commander, Tech. Sgt. Gary Harristhese explained that these tools help the Air Force track inventory. Besides, they are able to issue our property more effectively. Using this technology could improve the way we conduct business.
Almost all of the equipment goes through a check-up in and out of Eglin’s Readiness Center storage. The items that went through testing have RFID confirmation tags. Helmets, protective gear, guns, and so forth are examples of items. Before they deploy or train, Airmen go to the warehouse and get their gear.
Supply Airmen use RFID tags to scan these products in and out. Similar to department shops, any inventory items that are not scanned out to a consumer will raise an alert. Furthermore, warehouse personnel are notified when issued items are past due for return.
Advanced RFID Technology benefits
Before RFID tags, warehouse employees had to physically count each property item. If the inventory were incorrect, the squadron would have to recount and investigate any inconsistencies, which would take hours. RFID tags now allow a real-time view of assets in inventory and transportation.
Without the RFID device, Airmen would have to manually check serial numbers on inventoried weapons, which might take up to two weeks. The system can now inventory the entire weaponry supply in a single day. Within a six-foot radius of the tags it is instructed to read, the RFID reader begins counting, populating the inventory in seconds.
After deploying this technology in 2021, the squadron hoped to assist other Air Force units in streamlining their inventory operations. The squadron collaborated with the 96th Test Wing’s Innovation Office to make this notion a reality.
Eglin successfully presented their advancements in tracking at the AFWERX Spark Refinery in 2022. It is anticipated that this monitoring technology will be adopted in the entirety of the Air Force in the future.