Reliability test of a RIFD system for tool management on construction sites



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In the construction industry, one of the aspects that affect the productivity of the construction crew is the availability of tools and supplies. Unavailability of tools and supplies results in a delay of the project, which in turn increases the cost of the project. If any such delays on job sites could be reduced, it would help the construction industry in reduction of time and cost losses. The construction industry is in need of a technology that would improve the presentday tool management system (TMS) to reduce the construction costs from delays in projects. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology offers the possibility that tools and supplies, tagged with RFID devices, could be tracked down automatically. Although the potential of RFID is real, it does have limitations like any other technology. Without understanding and working with the limitations of RFID, this technology may disappoint many before its true and significant capabilities are realized. Before the technology is executed fullfledged, it needs to be tested for reliability on construction sites in particular. Researchers, from many parts of the world, have performed tests to understand the reliability of the RFID technology considering variables like metal interferences, reading range, multiple tag identification, etc. But these tests conducted could not discuss all the factors that may affect the reliability of the technology. This paper identifies other factors that might affect the reliability of RFID technology and tests are conducted to understand the influence of these factors on the readability of the RFID tags. Number of tools and the velocity with which tools are taken across the portal are two variables that are tested for reliability of RFID. Tests are conducted using the experiment setup that resembles a construction site tool management room entrance/exit. Results show a radical decrease in the readability of tags, while the numbers of the tools are increased gradually. And also, when the tools were taken across the RFID portal with gradual increasing velocity, the readability reduced. These results prove that both the tested parameters have an effect on the reliability of RFID technology for tool tracking.