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New Aerospace Radio-Frequency Identification Standard
New Aerospace Radio-Frequency Identification Standard

Technology that allows the aircraft to “talk” to technicians about maintenance issues.

And consequently, plays a major role in the safety of the plane.

These advancements take shape in the form of the recently revised SAE International Radio- Frequency Identification (RFID) standard AS5678A (Passive RFID Tags Intended for Aircraft Use) which is frequently used in Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) systems.

To further define: IVHM is an end-to-end capability that transforms system data into operational support information, allowing for the analysis and diagnosis of a vehicle and the understanding of how a failed structure or piece of equipment impacts the vehicle’s overall health. You can read more about the latest updates to this technology here.

Again, the significance of this standard is that RIFD is moving the health and safety of the plane forward per Logen Johnson, Aerospace Standards Engineer for SAE International:

  • RFID technology enables the airplane to talk to itself in new ways and lets technicians know when there is a problem or when a part requires maintenance.
  • Radio signals allow the technician to walk by the part with a receiver and the part will transmit information on its status, where it came from, the part number, and where and when it was installed.
  • Transitioning from wired to wireless systems is an excellent way to reduce the amount of wiring; the use of RFID sensors for IVHM monitoring applications instead of wired network sensors will avoid costly redesign to route network cables and the costs of performing safety re-certification.

Johnson also explained that AS5678A was revised for several reasons:

  • Provides a requirements document for RFID tag manufacturers that produce passive-only, ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID tags for the aerospace industry.
  • Identifies the minimum performance requirements for passive, UHF RFID tags for aircraft parts that can only be accessed during ground operations.
  • Specifies test requirements specific to passive, UHF RFID tags for airborne use, in addition to RTCA DO-160 compliance requirements.
  • Identifies existing standards applicable to passive, UHF RFID tags.
  • Provides a certification standard for RFID tags that will use permanently affixed installation on aircraft and aircraft parts.

Complete details are available in the SAE press release or on the AS5678A information page.