Reactec s HAVmeter depends on CoreRFID. A Case Study.

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1 Reactec s HAVmeter depends on CoreRFID The design and supply service provided by CoreRFID has helped to ensure the success of the HAVmeter system in very demanding working environments. Mark-Paul Buckingham, Managing Director, Reactec Ltd. A Case Study.

2 Reactec Ltd is a leader in combating noise and vibration. With clients in the construction, automotive, marine, engineering industries and in energy and utilities, Reactec wanted to develop a new solution for monitoring the exposure of power tool users to vibration helping to reduce heath risks and saving time lost through industrial injuries and sickness. To support that development they turned to CoreRFID. Reactec Ltd Case Study RFID used to help reduce the risk of industrial injury from vibration in the workplace CoreRFID supports systems integrators in implementing innovative products and solutions. Reactec co-founders, Mark-Paul Buckingham and Tim Kent were graduates of the University of Edinburgh with a vision of harnessing novel materials and the latest electronics to offer new, high performance, ways of controlling vibration. They founded Reactec in June 2001 to achieve this. Today the business offers a range of products and consultancy services that help industries to solve the problems presented by noise and vibration. Reactec specialises in working in close collaboration with engineers, designers, manufacturers, and planning authorities. With core expertise in materials and control, they deliver cost-effective, high quality systems, that use both active electronic vibration control and passive vibration isolation techniques. Areas where Reactec have applied their skills include: Noise and vibration Surveys Advising on noise and vibration in building and foundation Design Solving the problems of vibration in semiconductor manufacturing and optoelectronics Reducing the effects of vibration in luxury yachts Helping reduce the impact of noise and vibration in the workplace Reducing the vibration effects of wind turbines Reactec s client list spans many areas of UK manufacturing industries and utilities. Clients include Black and Decker, Rolls Royce Marine, the MoD and Intel.

3 Vibration in the Workplace 3000 claims a year for industrial injuries related to vibration. Around 2 million UK workers are exposed to levels of vibration in the workplace that could pose a risk of them developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), related diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome and vibration white finger or the back-pain associated with whole body vibration. Each year British industry is faced with over 3000 claims for industrial injury disablement benefit as a result of vibration related diseases. Vibration can cause permanent damage but its effects are preventable. In 2005 the UK Government introduced Control of Vibration at Work Regulations which obliged employers are to ensure that workers are not exposed to limits greater than those laid down. The regulations, administered by the Health and Safety Executive, require employers to take measures that will limit exposure and minimise the risks of effects. At the same time the regulations oblige employers to ensure that staff are trained to be aware of the dangers of vibration exposure and the measures that they can take to limit the risks to their health. Where employers fail to comply with the regulations they run the risk of fines and of leaving themselves open to claims for compensation in the event of workers suffering vibration related illness.. Reactec s Solution An innovative approach to reducing the problems caused by vibration in the workplace. In order to help employers to meet their obligations under the Control of Vibrations at Work regulations and to help reduce the costs associated with vibration related industrial diseases Reactec created the HAVmeter solution. The HAVmeter system can be used with a wide range of industrial tools including mains, battery and pneumatic powered devices. It is designed to deliver straightforward business benefits in helping to manage control of vibration in the workplace and in supporting better usage of industrial equipment. The HAVmeter system provides: Immediate feed-back to employees on vibration dosage exposure minimises the risk of vibration related medical conditions Automatic vibration exposure record for each employee supports and demonstrates regulatory compliance Data on employee exposure, tool usage and tool vibration performance supports the development of improved working practices. Data on tool location and handling can be used to improve tool management processes, asset control and security. At the heart of the HAVmeter system is RFID based tool tagging technology designed and supplied by CoreRFID.

4 Figure 1 Key Components Of The Havmeter System 1. Colour coded tags are used to identify tools 2. A Havmeter is collected by each employee at the start of day 3. Clamping the Havmeter to the tool picks up data on vibration and tool use. 4. At the end of the day data from the Havmeter is uploaded for analysis Work carried out by CoreRFID to support the Havmeter project involved solving the problems of deploying radio frequency identification (RFID) in environments which challenged reception and transmission reliability with standard tags because of vibration, magnetic fields, electrical interference, moisture and temperature changes. Staff gain protection, employers reduce time lost through injuries and tool failure. Users of the Reactec system attach colour coded RFID tags to tools used in the workplace. Staff carry a vibration sensor and tag reader that fastens to the tool while they are using it. The sensor collects data on vibration dosage and this data is transferred for analysis at the end of the day. Together these three elements allow a picture of vibration exposure and the risks it poses for workers. The Tags The rugged RFID tags that are attached to tools carry data about the tool, its make and model, a unique tool number, and an average tool vibration value. RFID tags can be used in demanding environments. Because the tags are exposed continuously to vibration and to other environmental factors such as temperature changes, electro-magnetic interference, and moisture, they need to be housed so as to minimise the effect of these factors. Tags need to be fitted to tools in a way that ensures they do no become dislodged or lost. Tags need to be able to be read reliably in adverse conditions. As a consequence, the design of tags and the mounting system used for them represents a critical part of the overall design of the HAVmeter system. Reactec decided to work closely with CoreRFID on the design and development of the tags used in the HAVmeter system.

5 Figure 2: A red colour coded tag attached to the top of a pneumatic drill warns of high vibration exposure.. Figure 3: Clipping the HAVmeter to a tool mounted tag with its magnet lets it collect data on the tool and actual vibration. The creation of a custom tag was a crticial part of the overall systems development, requiring the design of a tag with a redeisgned antenna able to cope with the need to transmit and receive data when the tag was in a strong magnetic field. Tool tags are coded red, yellow or green to give a visual warning of the vibration caused by a particular tool. The CoreRFID design involved the development of a custom tag with a larger than standard antenna in order to cope with the specialised transmission / reception problems found when the HAVmeter is magnetically attached to a tag on a vibrating, electrical tool. CoreRFID sourced and arranged production of the custom tag ready for embedding in the Reactec housing. In addition CoreRFID created the software that writes data to the tags in a complex way in bit rather than byte format. This saves space in the limited data capacity of the tags, using encryption / decryption techniques to store the data. The CoreRFID software converts data from a standard.csv file, allowing the Reactec system to be as simple as possible and insulated from the technical requirements of writing data to and reading data from the tag. The HAVmeter The HAVmeter is a compact, i-pod sized, device that can be magnetically clamped onto the tool and its associated tag. The technology used is simple and robust, allowing it to be deployed in factory environments or on construction sites. It has been designed with no external buttons or switches to ensure ruggedness, ease of use and to make it completely tamper-proof. The HAVmeter is attached magnetically to any tool used during the day. It records and displays the total vibration dosage experience by the holder, so helping workers to manage their own exposure. The HAVmeter detects the actual levels of vibration experienced with its on-board accelerometers and records the vibration exposure by collecting data from the tool tags, storing details of tools used and the time that the tool was operated for. Its display screen gives the user a running points total and individual tool points total; coloured lights alert the worker when Exposure Action Value (EAV) and Exposure Limit Value (ELV) thresholds are reached. The memory in the HAVmeter s housing allows it to record details of up to 500 connections in any one day. When attached to a tool tag the HAVmeter tool reads information that has been preprogrammed onto the colour-coded, RFID, tool tags. This tells it what tool it is connected to and the average vibration level associated with that tool. The HAVmeter s inbuilt tri-axial accelerometer is used to accurately measure trigger

6 time. The trigger time, together with the average tool vibration value, allows the HAVmeter to calculate hand arm vibration exposure in terms of the HSE s points system. Collecting & Analysing Data At the end of the day the HAVmeter is returned to its docking station to be recharged for the following day and to allow the data collected to be uploaded. Figure 4: Analysis using data provided by HAVmeter allows tracking of every employee s exposure to vibration. Software analyses the data from the system to show the vibration experienced by each operator, converting the time the tool was used for and the vibration level into a points score using the Health & Safety Executive s system. Software can also track if a particular tool is emitting higher levels of vibration than is expected, pointing to a need for maintenance. It can show the times that tools are run for, highlighting the need for maintenance of tools, changes in working practices or for staff training. Reactec & CoreRFID Development support and component supply. CoreRFID worked closely with Reactec on the design and development of the Havmeter system, providing Reactec with guidance on technology choices for the tool tags. The development and delivery of the HAVmeter system demanded a close working relationship between Reactec and CoreRFID. Reactec selected CoreRFID as their technology partner for the project because of CoreRFID s ability to meet Reactec price targets for their tool tags; because of CoreRFID s track record in successful RFID implementations and their ability to provide a custom solution that the demanding nature of the HAVmeter operational environment. CoreRFID provides all the hardware components needed for the RFID tags used by the HAVmeter system. `

7 About CoreRFID Ltd. CoreRFID works with over 1100 customers across the UK, Europe, the USA and the rest of the world, providing them with the systems and support they need for their applications. Many customers have continued to do business with CoreRFID over a number of years. Users of CoreRFID solutions are found in finance, broadcasting, construction, defence, government and telecommunications. Customers include the BBC, Capita, Nokia, BAA, Thames Water, the Channel Tunnel, Norwich Union, Galliford Morgan and Amec. CoreRFID specialises in the complete range of technologies for track, trace, audit and control applications, assisting customers in making the right choices for business critical applications. CoreRFID provides customers with:- RFID tags, sourced worldwide or custom manufactured Tag reader / scanner devices. Hand held computers for tag reading / scanning. Design and development of the software. Training and implementation service. Experts In Track, Trace, Audit & Control In a field where new development makes new applications practical, CoreRFID keeps in touch with the latest advances and makes it easy for clients to get the benefit of them. CoreRFID has created the RFID Pilot Pack; a low cost way to try out RFID technology and assess the feasibility of potential applications. CoreRFID has strategic partnerships with providers of Ultra High Frequency components, making it possible for CoreRFID s clients to exploit this technology. CoreRFID software solutions are developed using the Microsoft.Net Framework making it easy to integrate track, trace audit and control applications with other back office systems.

8 Our Organisation CoreRFID was formerly known as Mannings RFID, part of the Mannings engineering group. In July 2007 the Mannings RFID management team successfully completed a management buyout from Mannings UK to create a business exclusively focused on the needs of RFID technology users. CoreRFID retains all the staff, know-how and intellectual property of the Mannings RFID business. The CoreRFID team of experienced engineers and its sales and administration centre is based in Warrington, in the North West of England. CoreRFID is backed by Enterprise Ventures and Natwest Bank. Core RFID Ltd 2008 CoreRFID Ltd. Dallam Court, Dallam Lane, Warrington, WA2 7LT T: +44 (0) F: +44 (0) E: W:

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