"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

RFID tagging and high security monitoring of fuel cargoes

Paz is a small Israeli company that runs convenience stores and petrol stations. They needed to track their fuel trucks, and fuel deliveries, to improve control and to eliminate theft of fuel.

Hi-G-Tek an Israeli company now based in Rockville, Md. has solved their problems by designing a neat Tanker Truck Monitoring System (TTMS). To do this they had to develop a Radio Frequency Tag (RFID) that met very severe operating conditions of heat, and chemical resistance with high reliability, they call these proprietary tags "I-Safe" (Intrinsically Safe).

The seals have a 5 year battery life with a 500 foot read range and use a Hi-G-Tek proprietary air-interface protocol to extend and preserve battery life. Seals remain in alow energy listening mode, but jumps when interrogated to send data. The protocol is based on two full-duplex radio channels; one operates at 125 kHz, the other at one of the lower ISM band between 300 and 916 MHz.

The seals are certified as safe by the Underwriters Laboratories, an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization and they also comply with the European Union's ATEX regulations.

Attached to each tanker valve these tags identify the valve state OPEN / CLOSED - this is transmitted to a cab mounted interrogator which relays the data (including GPS location of the truck), using a general packet radio service (GPRS) connection, to a computer in a central command center in Tel Aviv. This provides amanagemnt with real time control which is integrated with a fleet managment system from Starcom Systems. Managers have precise control over type of fuel delivered, quantity and theft is eliminated.

Starting with trials in 2005 over 100 trucks both company owned but also on supplier vehicles are equipped with the system. This has now totally replaced the previous manual systems using numbered clip seals on valves and handwritten records.

Hi-G-Tek has sold similar applications in Mexico and three other Latin American countries, as well as one in Eastern European.

Designing systems is never easy, as the real world intrudes - the first seals had to be upgraded to cope with unexpected severe physical shocks - drivers would kick valves open and shut . They built a more rugged tag and improved the driver training.

A neat solution using a range of proven communications technologies and devices that improves running a business. The company, founded by Micha Auerbach, an Ex IDF communications engineer with experience at Israeli Air Industries has extended this basic concept to RFID monitoring and control of locks of any sort, shipping containers, perimter security entrances etc.,

UPDATE 16th June 2007

Contacts in criminal circles advise that the chief method of removing fuel from tankers is simply effected by inserting a garden hose in the aperture provided to inserts a dipstick into the main tank to check fuel levels.

One wonders if this antique, but well proven method of abstraction is still in use by the less honest tanker drivers of the world and if it would avoid detection by the system outlined.

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