Wireless Tracking System to Enhance Efficiency at U.S. Army Depot

Tobyhanna Army Depot deploys WhereNet RLTS in response to DoD mandate to develop and use automatic identification technology


Tobyhanna Army Depot deploys WhereNet RLTS in response to DoD mandate to develop and use automatic identification technology

Santa Clara, CA — January 11, 2005 — WhereNet Corp., a provider of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, said today that the Tobyhanna Army Depot has deployed the standards-based WhereNet real-time locating system (RTLS) technology to streamline the full-service repair and overhaul of surveillance radar systems at the Pennsylvania facility, marking the first time that a U.S. Army facility has tested RTLS technology.

Tobyhanna Army Depot plays a critical role in repairing and overhauling command, control, computer, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems for the Armed Forces. In accordance with the Department of Defense (DoD) mandate to develop and use automatic identification technology (AIT), Tobyhanna said it is evaluating the WhereNet active radio frequency identification (RFID) system to improve efficiencies, cut costs and increase quality at the depot.

We are constantly researching and testing advanced technologies to ensure the readiness of our Armed Forces, said Ronald Rains, AIT coordinator, Research and Analysis Division, Tobyhanna Army Depot. Wireless location-based technology is particularly intriguing given its success associated with productivity gains in commercial environments. We look forward to evaluating automatic identification technology in particular and providing a cost-benefit analysis to determine future use of the technology in support of our Armed Forces.

Tracking the Tracking Systems

About every five years, radar antenna systems need to be refurbished. The systems are shipped to the Tobyhanna depot, where each system is disassembled, repaired and tested before being shipped out to the field again — a labor-intensive process that can take 12 to 15 months. With assemblies, sub-assemblies, components and spare parts spread across the more than 2-million-square-foot refurbishment areas, the RTLS technology will provide each work center with visibility of the antenna system's work in process.

Using the WhereNet system's process, Tobyhanna personnel now assign an active RFID WhereTag transmitter to items ranging from components to complete systems. The wireless architecture consists of WhereLAN locating sensors and WherePort devices, which trigger each WhereTag to emit a signal when entering or leaving a specific work center.

The WhereNet system also automatically records information such as arrival, dwell and departure time without any human intervention, so the depot personnel can find the precise whereabouts and status of each tagged item at any stage during the refurbishing process and analyze work-in-process flow and prevent bottlenecks.

The Tobyhanna evaluation deployment is just one of several DoD and homeland security initiatives that we are currently engaged in with the federal government, said Matt Armanino, senior vice president of corporate development for WhereNet. The daily logistics challenges facing Tobyhanna are not unlike those encountered by our private enterprise customers.

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