Northrop Grumman - Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI)
AIM 2013 RFID Case Study Competition Participant
The Business and Technical Challenge
While Capital assets are entered into an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system at BWI, the inventory process remained a paper process at the execution level. NGES searched for a technology solution to provide reductions in labor and replacement costs, while increasing efficiency and accuracy of their inventories. NGES turned to the Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) Center in their sister organization, Northrop Grumman Information System (NGIS) Sector, for development and implementation. The NGIS AIT Center has a 27-year history of providing complex logistical solutions, incorporating biometrics and AIT (passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), active RFID, barcodes, mobile computing, etc..) to the U.S. Government and commercial companies.
Northrop Grumman assets are already accounted for in a company SAP solution and use a barcode label referred to as the asset label. The RFID solution provides for the additional capability of automated tracking of asset location. Figure 1 shows a basic architecture diagram of Northrop Grumman’s BWI facility architecture for the Capital Asset RFID system. The solution consisted of Evigia Fixed Readers and Evigia portable RFID reader ‘sleds’ which attachto a Motorola passive RFID (pRFID) handheld terminal (HHT). pRFID HHTs were selected as there may be a desire to include passive RFID as a future expansion of the system. Zebra Portable barcode readers are also utilized to print a duplicate asset number barcode label which is then affixed to the RFID tag. This provides a visual capability to match assets with RFID tags with or without out a barcode scanner when needed. Fixed RFID readers are connected to the3 | P a g e
Northrop Grumman LAN and portable readers access the network via a user workstation and Motorola communication dock. An Oracle database and custom application developed by Northrop Grumman’s AIT Center were placed on BWI’s server infrastructure. The application is web-based and users can access it via their normal company workstations or laptops. The web application provides for adding hardware such as readers or printers and managing all configurations such as reader groups, collection cycles as well as extensive report generation or pushing data collected into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The database serves an RFID data repository. The database performs updates with Northrop Grumman Electronic System Sector’s SAP asset management system so that both systems can provide an accurate location of assets.