1.1.1.1Spacecraft automated shipment manifest supported by RFID

inspectorwormsElectronics - Devices

Nov 27, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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1.1.1.1

Spac
ecraft automated shipment manifest supported by RFID

The automation of shipment management using RFID is another
use case

which, as the ISS
inventory management

use case presented in the previous paragraphs
,
allows

drastic
inventory
optimization.

In s
everal cases, spare parts, ground support equipment and the satellite itself are stored for a
period that can last from a couple of days to

a

number of years depending on launch
constraints. This is particularly true when the obsolescence of parts leads to

choosing the
production of a series of satellites to be stored as the only viable option.

In that case,
not only
storage requires an efficient organization, but the transport itself of the hundreds of containers
for the satellite, its spare parts, and all

support equipment to the launch site requires a very
precise shipment manifest.
T
his shipment manifest needs to be prepared
long before the
transfer to the launchpad
, is difficult to update, and requires a team of several persons for its
creation

and main
tenance
.

The Metop
satellite
series is a very practical example o
f the benefits which can result from an
automated system based on RFID
.

An hierarchical RFID based system allows to populate
containers with different items (spare parts, ground support equip
ment), establish parent
-
child
relationship between containers and larger shipping containers, as well as correlation between
container and its location in the storage room.


The
creation

of
the
shipment manifest

itself is
associated to

the loading phase,
when each
piece of equipment RFID tag is scanned and associated to a container.

The process

principle
is based on a

parent


child relationship
established at each loading level (single piece of
equipment, simple container, larger container). The resulting

shipment manifest produced
show the loading hierarchy and allows to identify every single item and the container it is
loaded in.

Transport
list
Create a shipment
Load the containers
Load the shipping
containers
Shipment
Manifest
Shipment management
RFID

Figure
1
: Automatic generation of shipment manifest upon containers loading

Each
item

to be tracke
d
(spare part, mouse pad, keyboard, harness…)
is equipped with an
RFID tag
; optionally it is in addition equipped with
a label allowing for quick identification
even without handheld reading device. In this use case, a full RFID shipment manifest system
ca
n be elaborated based on passive tags, portable handheld RFID reader and
classic labels.


Figure
2
: Example of labels and tags used for single items and for containers identification


Figure
3
: RFID tags
are used on single pieces of equipment but also on containers. Tags are read with a
portable handheld device

In order to allow easy tracking of the location of each piece of equipment in containers, and of
containers in larger shipping containers, several
functions are implemented in the supporting
software allowing for data management:



A container loading function, during which the container tag is read, followed by the
tags of all pieces of equipment loaded in this container.


parent

Figure
4
: Container loading operation

The same “container loading” program is used to associate a shipping container to several
small containers

parent

Figure
5
: Shipping container loading operation



A transport definition function allows

for associating the RFID automated data with
existing logistics procedures



A shipment manifest generation function
includes all information about the transport
in a structured form
in such way
that a tracking of every single item starting by
transport via

oversea container down to box level can be done.

Such a
process can also be used to manage a stock on test or launch site
.