RFID Technology Has High-Profile Success

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Akron, Ohio), an early adopter of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology on a production scale, says RFID is the future for tire identification in manufacturing, supply chain management and tire-vehicle integration.

Goodyear's RFID technology recently passed its first major real-life test when NASCAR used it for the Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead - Miami Speedway in Florida.

"A multitude of passenger tire advances, such as innovative tread design and new construction techniques, have evolved from our racing roots,” said Steve Roth, Goodyear's director. “Now RFID technology is following that same path."

"The fast-paced, high-pressure racing environment was the perfect real-life test for our patented, embedded RFID tag, which has been in development in our laboratories for several years," he said.

Goodyear began exploring RFID technology in 1984 and in 1993 began the first field trial with more than 3,000 tires. "Through this program, we can demonstrate the effectiveness of our technology, while encountering the same issues we would experience with any original equipment or retail customer," Roth said. "We expect this successful application with NASCAR to help advance our RFID efforts on a far broader scale."

Roth said he expects RFID to have a huge impact on tire production, warehousing, sales and service. The tags provide for automated reading by RFID scanning equipment and are capable of carrying large amounts of information. Tire identification is the first piece of data that will be available, but as the technology progresses, specific tire data could also be added that would allow for improved vehicle performance.

Goodyear will start the 2006 racing season with a new tire leasing program for NASCAR's top three series, and RFID technology will assist with the implementation of NASCAR's new controlled testing procedures, developed to level the playing field for all of the teams in the series.

The RFID chips store tire identification data to help manage the leased inventory and ensure each team gets its correct tires. Goodyear says RFID is the quickest method available to log in the thousands of new and used tires being returned at the end of a race before teams can depart the track.

Goodyear is the exclusive tire supplier to NASCAR's top three series. Goodyear is an advocate for the use of the EPCglobal Unique Identification (UID) format for data contained on the RFID tag. Roth said providing a standard is one of the most important steps in getting new technology adopted, easing implementation for both customers and suppliers.

Goodyear is the world's largest tire company. The company manufactures tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 28 countries around the world. Goodyear employs more than 75,000 people worldwide.

Source: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

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