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What are NFC tags and QR Codes and how to apply them to maintenance management
When it comes to Maintenance, companies are increasingly seeking agile processes to track the status of machines and equipment, which is a critical factor for ensuring the success of an organization.
Companies are increasingly looking for answers to optimize and make maintenance management easier. Cataloguing equipment with NFC tags or QR codes makes this process significantly simpler by making machine and equipment maintenance more agile, which is crucial for ensuring that production processes continue operating without time-consuming shutdowns. Identifying equipment allows you to, for example, report failures (and issue requests for maintenance), view the maintenance work and the scheduled operations, as well as directly recording an issue for a given piece of equipment through its NFC tag or QR code.
There are a number of ways of cataloging equipment and in this article, we address two of the most popular ones.
What is NFC technology?
NFC stands for Near-Field Communication and it is a wireless connectivity technology that enables real time exchange of information between two devices equipped with NFC tags when they are near one another. Communication is automatically established when these devices get close to each other, with no need for any configurations. You can use a smartphone, tablet or any other NFC-enabled device as an NFC scanning device.
NFC Technology in Maintenance Management
Introducing this technology into a maintenance department allows technicians to access information about a particular piece of equipment on the field by simply getting close to the equipment with their smartphones or tablets. Equipment catalogued with NFC also allow for reporting issues using the NFC tag. In short, technical teams are able to identify equipment on the field and follow the planned maintenance operations for each asset in real time, thanks to the speed of communication between the NFC tag and the scanning device.
One of the great advantages of this technology is that NFC tags can be placed on any type of environment (outdoor or indoor, with or without light).
Since NFC technology works based on the proximity between devices, it is also useful to ensure that the technician is physically present on site to scan the tag.
The QR (Quick Response) code is a special type of black and white 2D barcode with a square format. By reading this code with a mobile device or a specific application for this purpose, the code is converted into text, a web page, a location or a contact. Some of the latest smartphones can use the phone's camera to scan QR codes.
Unlike NFC tags, which are resistant to adverse weather conditions and have very high durability, the color of a QR code will fade over time, which can make it difficult to read. However, printing new codes is easier and less costly and therefore they can be replaced whenever necessary.
How to apply them to Maintenance?
Based on the assumption that equipment should spend most of its time in operation, the Valuekeep Mobile solution has integrated these two technologies to quicken response times. When a piece of equipment stops due to failures or breakdowns, you can lower response times using this type of equipment identification because you can quickly find out a part's manufacturer, maintenance procedure and history of operations. Asset inventory-taking through NFC tags and QR codes gives you quick access to information and this agility can be very helpful in the case of equipment failures or breakdowns.
In addition, QR codes can enable a fast display of the product's information, such as information about the supplier, brand and model, pictures and user manual. All this information becomes available to technicians simply by using the camera on their mobile device or tablet with this technology.