Implementing innovations together!
The most comprehensive RFID-based document management system in the world used by a public prosecutor has been implemented by Feig Electronic and the systems trader OGTech. Among their range of RFID-based projects in Egypt and the Middle East are also driveway and access controls combined with asset tracking applications in the hospital setting and completely transparent industrial production processes.
Andreas Löw of Feig Electronic and Khaled Elshimy of OGTech look back at the beginnings of this business partnership and talk about the way in which OGTech has grown as a partner with almost every single RFID-project it has implemented in the Arab region.
Andreas Löw, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Feig Electronic, and Khaled Elshimy, Regional Manager, OGTech, in an interview with RFID & Wieless IoT Global.
Beginnings as a one-man business
In 1966, Wolfgang Feig established Feig Electronic as a producer of electronic devices. Since 1991, the development and distribution of RFID hardware operating on LF, HF and UHF has been one of the most important pillars of Feig Electronic – and according to Andreas Löw, will be even more so in the future.
Through partners, Feig Electronic today markets RFID hardware and other electronic equipment globally. Within 50 years, the company originating in Weilburg has transformed from a one-man business to an international company with more than 300 employees and a profit of approximately 50 million Euros per year.
13 years to grow from customer to partner
The business partnership between Feig Electronic and OGTech goes back to 2006.
“OGTech contacted us like 'normal clients' do in order to purchase RFID products. Over time, the relationship with OGTech has become so strong that in the end, Feig Electronic appointed OGTech as its official distributor in Egypt. The very positive development in Egypt which transpired then was the reason for also making OGTech sole distributor of Feig Electronic products in the Middle East, in Dubai and in Qatar,” Andreas Löw explains.
He continues: “This success led to OGTech forming the idea to solidify its market position and to have more direct access to customers by establishing branches in Dubai and shortly thereafter in Qatar. Personal expert reports made in close proximity to the customers is the key element in Feig Electronic's view for being able to develop tailor-made innovative RFID solutions of high quality which precisely meet all of the customer's demands.”
In hindsight, says Andreas Löw, “the decision to make OGTech exclusive distributor and integration partners in the region turned out better than just good. The market potential in the Middle Eastern states is vast – and OGTech has impressively proven in numerous technologically challenging ventures its capability to implement projects, using Feig Electronic hardware, to their customers' highest satisfaction.”
Large range of UHF hardware in action
The spectrum of applications in which, aided by OGTech, RFID products by Feig Electronic are used is complex.
It includes document management in the building that houses the prosecutor's office in Qatar; driveway, access, and payment solutions in luxurious gated communities in Dubai; and asset tracking in hospitals and other health care facilities. Integrating new elements into existing RFID systems for OGTech often means replacing them with Feig devices.
“Roll-out marketing in the Middle East usually involves Feig Electronic's most recent UHF hardware. In that, the expert standing of our business partner OGTech is key for meeting customers' demands 100 per cent. This includes not only having the know-how to select the right hardware, but also having the knowledge about how it can be configured optimally – given the customer's circumstances,” explains Andreas Löw.
Tracking: From vehicles to laboratory samples
“One aspect of why RFID hardware by Feig Electronic is so successful lies in the readers', antennas' and multiplexers' versatile usability,” says Andreas Löw.
He continues: “A UHF long range reader such as the LR1002, given the right configuration, can create as much added value in industrial production as in document management or health care.” OGTech builds upon the versatility of the RFID devices and implements innovative applications for, to name two examples, AVI or asset tracking across several different business sites.
Securing driveways and access paths
Driveway and pedestrian access control systems have to always and continuously guarantee the highest degree of security, be that in a private, institutional or business setting. Only legitimate users must be granted motorized or pedestrian access to the grounds and buildings.
“UHF RFID readers by Feig Electronic grant a systems integrator such as OGTech the highest degree of security. Numerous long range readers from our portfolio support the capturing of transponders coded according to ISO 29167. The transponders might be built on, for example, the UHF RFID chip UCODE DNA by NXP. Since the access key for the premises provided on this chip cannot be copied, transponders featuring a cloned key will not be read as legitimate in the data gathering process,” explains Andreas Löw.
Looking at all assets in the health care sector
The flexibility with which RFID hardware by Feig Electronic can be put to use is also evident in many implementations throughout the healthcare sector.
“UHF RFID is the perfect technology for tracking medical equipment. An enormous advantage: as soon as a UHF RFID infrastructure has been brought into service inside a building, other solutions can be put into action without much additional effort. Once an asset tracking solution has been implemented, often an application for controlling the inventory of the various materials used in hospitals and laboratories – medications, test tubes, blood and plasma bottles, surgical instruments, clothing and much more – follows,” says Andreas Löw.
As such, he brings into view another business sector in which OGTech, supported by Feig Electronic, has already developed and implemented innovative RFID solutions.
Five innovative RFID Projects
Transparency is the Key to Greater Efficiency!
Elsewedy Electric started as a distributor for electrical appliances in 1938 and currently produces and sells various integrated energy products and services, including electrical cables and accessories, electrical products, telecommunications, transformers, wind power generation, power measurement and management, engineering, procurement, and contracting. Elsewedy Electric has 26 manufacturing facilities in various countries.
In each of the Elsewedy Electric factories, four main sectors – raw material handling, production/assembly, quality assurance and end product – can be identified. In each of these sectors, three main processes are applied – delivery, storage or direct processing, and the transition to the next process.
An RFID tag is captured at each of these individual process points to document the entire manufacturing history stored for that particular item. All parameters associated with a particular product are stored on the tag. The RFID tags also play a role in the after-sales sector, where in the event of a return or guarantee and subsequent identification of the article via RFID, the entire production history of the respective article is displayed.
In the first phase of project planning at one of the 26 production sites, UHF RFID handhelds will initially be used. The second phase of the project is scheduled to set up fixed identification control points for the automatic detection of objects at certain points in production and production logistics.
OGTech will install Feig Electronic readers due to their efficient and broad application potential. Currently, the coding of non-metal tags attached to plastic crates, wooden barrels or similar objects is done by RFID printers. The project team assumes that after an evaluation phase, around 12 different tag types will be used to identify metallic and non-metallic objects.
All Documents on 46 Floors at a Glance!
After the relocation of the Qatari public prosecutor's office to a larger building, a new UHF RFID system was to be integrated, which could precisely track and locate all documents in circulation. Since all documents created before the implementation of this new system were still tagged with old RFID tags, they had to be compatible with the new hardware and readable by the readers.
The new system should also be able to create new tags. Between 600 and 1,000 documents are produced per day in the new public prosecutor's office building. Most of these documents are forwarded directly to the court and do not remain with the prosecutior. In order for this transfer to run smoothly, the documents must be checked for authorization to leave the building.
Together with the companies QCS and Feig Electronic, OGTech has developed 1,006 reading points for the public prosecutor's office - consisting of UHF long-range readers ID ISC. LRU1002, 8-fold UHF multiplexers ID ISC.ANT.UMUX, UHF long range antennas ID ISC.ANT. U270/270 and UHF desktop readers with integrated multiplexer ID ISC.MRU102 – installed on 46 floors.
With the help of these reading points, the documents are permanently tracked in the building and their exact location, down to each individual desk, is stored in a database. OGTech's middleware always connects 11 antennas simultaneously. A total of around 50,000-70,000 documents are stored simultaneously in the public prosecutor's office building, all of which are continuously captured by the reading points.
Digitalization Starts with Access!
The Al-Ahli Hospital, specializing in the treatment of private patients, was opened in 2004. Approximately 1,500 employees are responsible for the care and treatment of 250 patients in a total of 25 specialist departments as well as the administration and organization of the hospital campus with its four buildings.
For the recording of time and attendance, a fingerprint solution was used to authenticate the employees at the entrances to the buildings, among other places. Repeated difficulties with the system prompted the clinic management to implement a new solution in 2015. OGTech was commissioned with the implementation.
Today, stationary UHF readers and antennas from Feig Electronic record the employees when they enter and leave both the staff parking lot and the campus buildings. Windshield labels are attached to the employees' vehicles for this purpose. The employees carry an ID card with an integrated UHF RFID transponder. The UHF employee ID cards can also be used to precisely document compliance with break times and participation in obligatory continuing education courses.
The infrastructure originally installed for employee registration is now also used for tracking hospital assets. Initially, the system was implemented for all major assets. In addition to the stationary readers, handhelds will also be used. The collected data will be used for localization and optimization of maintenance and repair.
136 Healthcare Facilities in UAE Track Assets with UHF RFID!
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of seven individual emirates, each with its own public health facilities. These facilities all report to the UAE Ministry of Health. In a project with the Ministry, OGTech will equip a total of 136 health facilities with RFID technology.
These facilities include 17 hospitals, 113 clinics and health centers, and six warehouses. Following an extensive competitive tendering and bidding process, which included the development of several test applications, a pilot project in the same year and several evaluations of Proof of Concepts, OGTech was selected by the Ministry as the supplier. The Ministry's goal is to use and integrate RFID technology with existing ERP systems in all healthcare facilities to optimize asset performance and management.
Among the most important parts of the project are the integration and customization of the middleware and the implementation of the overall application. Another part of the project includes a preliminary web application to encode assetspecific tags. While some labels can be printed on-site, others are preprinted and delivered for encoding.
OGTech initially provided 350,000 tags, 17 handhelds and ten RFID printers for the project. The next phase and extension of the project for the second quarter of 2019 included the installation of stationary readers to track the transfer of assets between different facilities across the UAE. Assets tracked include furniture, IT equipment, medical equipment and gastronomy equipment
UHF and HF provide comfort in luxury residential complexes!
Town Square by Nshama is a "gated community" residential complex in Dubai, covering an area of approximately 11 football pitches, with various apartment complexes and extensive leisure facilities - from a skate park to a roller coaster of its own.
Together with real estate developer Nshama, OGTech initiated the "One Card For All" project for the Town Square complex. The project currently comprises several areas – on the one hand, the access control at the 14 entrances to the complex and on the other hand, the access control to the leisure facilities and payment for the attraction. A distinction must be made between residents and (temporary) visitors for access controls.
To make it as pleasant as possible for the residents, OGTech uses a hybrid card that combines UHF and HF technology in one identification medium. UHF long-range readers from Feig Electronic are used to access one of the parking lots. HF readers were installed in the access control area on the premises. There are numerous leisure facilities available in the Town Square area, including skate parks and water parks, which are accessible to residents and visitors alike.
Residents have the option of using their card to obtain either restricted or unlimited access, depending on the model booked. Visitors can top up an RFID Day Card with credit. OGTech initially installed two payment terminals at the entrances to the different parks. A possible subsequent project phase includes the incorporation of an online portal to provide users with payment options on their smartphones in a closed-loop application.