IoT in Oil & Gas: Asset tracking with RFID, GPS, and QR Codes
IoT for warehouse or asset management is a wise solution in a post-COVID world where human contacts are limited and there is a need to transfer the information fast. There are numerous different technologies that make asset tracking with IoT possible: RFID, QR codes, GPS tracking. All these technologies can be interchanged depending on the needs of the client and the environment.
The oil and gas industry is a very demanding sphere in terms of possible risks. The equipment that is utilized in the process of oil & gas distribution is subject to various threats and corrosion, including physical and environmental stressors. Companies that extract and transport oil and gas want to control the physical state of the equipment, its location, and the time during which they were used. IoT solutions can solve the majority of problems in this sector.
One of our clients who chose to be undisclosed addressed us with the request to offer a reliable IoT solution for assets tracking Oil & Gas.
We offered to solve this problem using 3 alternatives:
All these technologies can be used interchangeably depending on the needs of the clients and the environmental conditions.
RFID IoT TECHNOLOGY
These are one of the most popular identification methods today applied in agriculture, utility, oil & gas, and manufacturing business sectors. They give 100% accurate identification because each tag in the RFID system is assigned with a unique ID.
Robust, ruggedized RFID tags do not only allow rapid and accurate inventory visibility, but can also be used to store the maintenance history of the asset. This system has a wide variety of tags that can withstand the harsh environments that oil and gas assets are subject to, including extreme high and low temperatures, high pressure, moisture, chemical exposure, mechanical impact, shock and vibration.
Several tag mounting mechanisms are available including adhesives, welding or riveting.
Using simple scanners, the company’s employees can efficiently research and record any data connected to the equipment. This web-based application with its user-friendly interface also includes a robust rule engine that allows for sophisticated business process rules and alerts to be configured. For this client, we created explosion-proof certified scanners which is especially important in such a high-risk business sector as oil& gas or utility.
One of the major advantages of RFID tags for asset management is the simplicity of its wide utilization: handheld scanners can be used by anyone without long training sessions. Asset management mobile software, running on the RFID handheld readers, smartphones and tablets assists field personnel in performing their daily operations in an efficient and proactive manner.
RFID handheld scanner. Industrial RFID reader with a 2D scanner designed for reading RFID tags and barcodes. It is used in retail, warehouse logistics for data collection, goods tracking, and document tracking up to 10 meters away from the tags. Alternatively, RFID can be read with the help of gates that are installed at the entrance of any premises( a warehouse, an office, etc.) It means that RFID tags can be read in bulk.
Exchange data with devices via Wi-Fi, 4G, 5G, Bluetooth, USB
QR CODES in IoT
QR codes are a habitual and really popular method of identification that can also be widely applied in the oil & gas industry as well as in retail, logistics, etc. In essence, QR codes in IoT are machine-readable 2D barcodes that provide users with valuable data about certain assets. QR codes are highly valued for their possibility to provide users with more information than simple ID number.
One of the major benefits of QR codes is the possibility to include more information into it comparing to RFID, for example.
Another benefit of QR codes is their reliability. QR codes don’t vanish with time and are preserved intact even under stressful environmental conditions, such as high temperatures or humidity.
Despite the fact that each QR code should be read separately, this procedure ensures a higher level of accuracy and security if it concerns valuable equipment. QR codes can also be applied with the help of special equipment.
QR codes are status tags which means that they are activated only when they are in contact with the equipment that can read them.
GPS TRACKERS in IoT
Unlike RFID and QR codes, GPS trackers are not static identification management devices. Using GPS signals (Global Positioning System) these trackers help to locate a person or an object with maximum accuracy in minimum time.
Using GPS trackers it is more effective to receive information about the location and movement history of objects, possible misuse or alerts.
The benefits of asset tracking with the help of GPS include but are not limited with: long battery life, high precision, the possibility to use periodic or movement – based tracking, easy installation, flexible configuration. Many businesses choose GPS trackers when working with valuable assets, such as equipment, vehicles, containers, trailers, etc. Thus, the application of GPS technology in the sphere of assets tracking is unimaginable.
WEB APP FOR DATA VISUALIZATION
Regardless of the method of data accumulation ( RFID, QR codes, GPS sensors), it is important to visualize this information in a user-friendly manner. Web and mobile applications serve this purpose the best.
It is created for any warehouse manager who wants to have only up-to-date information about the warehouse.
With the help of web-based application users will be able to:
Know where all assets are located at any given moment
Know which assets require maintenance or regulatory testing
Get alerts if assets were not returned to the warehouse
Receive alerts if any asset is not working properly
IoT for warehouse or asset management is a wise solution in a post-COVID world where human contacts are limited and there is a need to transfer the information fast. Market leaders from different business sectors, such as Amazon or DHL, have implemented these technologies several years ago. The majority of big companies who need to manage huge volumes of products at the warehouses choose IoT sensors today as they exclude the possibility of human errors, improve overall transparency of warehouse management, decrease operational time and, therefore, maximize profit.