Study suggests better way to identify aircraft assembly parts

By Julliane Silveira, scientific journalist, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Imagine a great production line. Automated machines and factory employees need to identify the correct parts and components to build a product correctly — a car or a computer, for instance. When the manufacturing cycle lasts a few days or a few hours, it’s easy to know the next part of the assembly process.

How to manage this, when it comes to an airplane manufacturing company, whose assembly line may last for months? How to ensure the correct sequence of assembly and the right choice of parts? How to track this piece over time? To answer this question, researchers test new ways of identifying components, in order to reduce the chances of errors and optimizing the management of aeronautical stocks.

This is the issue of the article “Minimum Activation Power of a Passive UHF RFID Tags: a Low Cost Method”, published in the current edition of JATM (Journal of Aerospace Technology and Management, Vol. 10) by researchers from ITA.

Part and component identification systems are essential, mainly due to the current volume of products in circulation in the world and the increasing need to trace the origin of these items.

The work evaluates the reading distance for UHF RFID passive tag, a type of radio frequency identification. “Especially for the aeronautics market, RFID has clear advantages over traditional bar codes,” says Samuel Bloch da Silva, an ITA researcher and lead author of the study.

The system has three major components: reader, antennas and tags attached at the unit under test. RFID tags can store data and modify it according to RF signal from the antennas connected to the readers (NIKITIN; RAO; LAM, 2012).

Considering that this type of technology works from electromagnetic waves, the role of the human being is restricted to the execution of the process, which helps to minimize errors, increase access to information and reduce costs (ZHU; MUKHOPADHYAY; KURATA, 2012).

“The RFID tag can be a permanent identification option for aeronautical components, replacing the bar code, data matrix or QR code. And the great advantage of this technology lies in the fact that it allows reading at a distance, “explains Silva.”This type of label, in many cases, is not susceptible to harm, erasures, has rewritable memory for insertion of additional information and much longer service life than traditional bar codes,” he adds.

The article suggests the maximum reading distance of this type of label on different surfaces, such as plastic, cardboard and wood, in order to point out the minimum activation energy of the label in the different materials. “We propose the validation of the use of a commercial passive UHF RFID tag on the materials suggested by the manufacturer, showing that they can be a good alternative to other types of identification,” says Silva.

The paper may also be used as guideline to implement UHF RFID technology for the early adopter in the aerospace industry. It is directed to users performing application static testing of applied tags.


GAO, Y., et al. Calculation of read distance in passive backscatter RFID systems and application. Journal of System and Management Sciences [online]. 2012, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 40-49, E-ISSN: 1818-0523 [viewed 25 October 2018]. Available from:

NIKITIN, P.V., RAO, K.V.S. and LAM, S. UHF RFID tag characterization: overview and state-of-the-art. In: AMTA 2012, Seattle, 2012.

ZHU, X., MUKHOPADHYAY, S.K. and KURATA, H. A review of RFID technology and its managerial applications in different industries. Journal of Egineering and Technology Management [online]. 2012, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 152-167, ISSN: ISSN: 0923-4748 [viewed 25 October 2018]. DOI: 10.1016/j.jengtecman.2011.09.011. Available from:

To read the article, access it

SILVA, S.B. and CORREIA, A.R. Minimum Activation Power of a Passive UHF RFID Tags: a Low Cost Method. J. Aerosp. Technol. Manag. [online]. 2018, vol. 10, e2418, ISSN: 1984-9648 [viewed 25 October 2018]. DOI: 10.5028/jatm.v10.854. Available from:

External link

Journal of Aerospace Technology and Management – JATM: <>


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

SILVEIRA, J. Study suggests better way to identify aircraft assembly parts [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2018 [viewed ]. Available from:


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