Air Canada Cargo uses RFID Technology
Air Canada Cargo uses RFID Technology

Air Canada Cargo is moving forward with the implementation of a large-scale RFID solution that will enable tracking of cargo and mail shipments across additional stations in its network. Initial implementation and solution validation was took place last year, starting with Montreal and Frankfurt  being the first 2 stations installed. Boston is now on-line, with Chicago being installed soon.  The solution provider Franwell specialized in RFID track and trace technologies and will be partnering with Jamison RFID, View Technologies and other strategic partners to provide the air cargo services provider with a complete, end-to-end RFID RTLS tracking solution.

Air Canada Cargo is Canada’s largest provider of air cargo services, and provides direct shipping to more than 150 cities in Canada, the US and around the world. The company will use the RFID solution, developed and implemented by Franwell, to track cargo at the piece level associated to a RFID-tagged ULD. Freight is tracked as it moves through the warehouse and to and from the tarmac using RAIN RFID (passive UHF) labels, providing real-time, hands-free shipment location updates.

“The RFID solution establishes Air Canada Cargo as an industry leader, and sets a new standard for quality. Tracking shipments at the piece level with this solution will provide us with gains in process efficiency and valuable edge data that will generate enhanced metrics and business intelligence. We can use that information to improve our own operations, and also to provide improved service and shipment visibility to our customers,” said Lise-Marie Turpin, Vice-President, Air Canada Cargo.

Warehouse staff use RAIN RFID enabled IATA standards based labels to associate piece level cargo with a specific MAWB, HAWB and ULD. When the pallets are built, overhead Echo smart antennas from View Technologies automatically detect the ULD contents. View Technologies systems are integrated into CargoAware for tracking location within warehouses. Door portals from Jamison RFID provide real-time tracking information as the pallets move through key doorways in the facility. The RFID data enables real-time piece and ULD lookup via an online dashboard, along with automated ‘last known location change’ messaging to Air Canada’s operational system.

Franwell’s solution combines best-in-class RAIN RFID technologies, including Jamison RFID’s Mod3 Smart RFID portals used to capture choke-point/pass-through to track cargo movement, long-range Echo smart antennas for real-time piece-level visibility of contents for pallet build automation and validation, and Zebra Technologies RFID printers for a streamlined tagging process. The solution is integrated with existing Air Canada operational software for seamless data messaging, providing real-time data on location changes and ULD build-up and breakdown of pieces to containers.

As a result of the RFID deployment, Air Canada Cargo expects a marked increase in productivity and higher customer satisfaction levels where the system is deployed.

“Air Canada has taken an industry leadership role in driving piece level tracking and ULD association, using RFID technology. They have defined key benefits, ranging from quality, efficiency and best practice modifications to operations, which also yields a significant ROI,” said Mike Nicometo, Director – CargoAware. “The potential for the visibility provided by the CargoAware solution is amazing, and air cargo is not the only industry it is applicable to.”

“Jamison RFID is excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project,” said Monte R. Lucas, President of Jamison RFID. “By combining our intelligent RFID portals with Franwell’s solutions, Air Canada Cargo has created a system that will generate a long-term ROI and provide new levels of service for their customers, bringing a higher degree of automation to the air cargo and aviation industry.”

“View Technologies is pleased to collaborate with this group of experienced solution providers for Air Canada,” said Steve Hudson, president of View Technologies. “By integrating our Echo smart antennas and inView platform with Franwell’s solution, Air Canada can continuously and confidently monitor cargo pieces for complete traceability inside their facilities.”

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