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Project name:

A French SME offers an innovative solution for tracking production tools in real-time, for the manufacturing sector

Status: Idea
Creation date: 23-09-2021

Project objectives:

A French SME offers an innovative RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) enabled Tool Trolley that allows real-time tool tracing to drive operational efficiency in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, maintenance and repair and operations (MRO). The customized solution helps reduce time wastages, tool cost and improve tool traceability and workplace safety. The SME seeks partners interested in using this technology in the framework of a commercial agreement with technical support.

The French SME is a subsidiary of a Singaporean company, providing RFID solutions to the main Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEM) of aircraft engines and the Singaporean army. The mother company developed a proprietary long lasting RFID tag and set-up a software development team in Myanmar to offer cost-effective solutions to its customers.

Tools tend to get lost or stolen frequently. Whether in the plant, on the job site or in a supply yard, the problem of “disappearing” or misplaced tools is a costly and time-consuming challenge for a variety of industries ranging from construction, manufacturing and energy to healthcare and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO).

The proposed solution is made of a portable toolbox or cabinet / trolley whose access is controlled by a screen interface. Users must identify themselves by tagging their identification card on an Near Field Communication (NFC) reader on the trolley. Each user has a profile, giving access to an approved tool list to choose from. Once tools are selected on the screen, the system will unlock the associated drawers.
Tools are sitting in drawers, in preformed customized supports, fitting the exact tool shape. A RFID tag is embedded at the back of each preformed shape, to be able to detect tool movement.
The user will manually take his selected tools, triggering the RFID tags. The system will log the information (Users Id, Date, time, tool…). The same process happens once tools are returned.

The system is fully customizable to the client needs.
- Interoperability with the client information system, through the development of APIs
- Possibility to handle multiple trolleys and keep track of the tool inventory for each trolley by laser engraving tools.
- Automated tool reports
- Possibility to track damaged tools, calibration dates…

This solution can be used in manufacturing environment, job sites or engineering yard to improve the portable tools management and hence the operational efficiency.

Benefit can be:
- To reduce downtime, by having the right tool at the right place at the right time
- To improve the production traceability process, by keeping track of tool users
- To reduce Foreign Object Debris (FOD) hazards, by ensuring all tools are back after intervention
- To reduce cost, by preventing tool loss

Solution key components

  • 15″ touch screen
    • proprietary software
    • RFID reader and Antenna
    • Rechargeable battery for tool cabinet mobility
    • 2 Option of Cabinet sizes – 7 drawers at 185kg (1078 x 710 x 1205cm) or 8 drawers at 195kg (1078 x 710 x 1340cm)
    • User authentication by RFID card
    • Loan and return records/Transaction logs – Data Analytics
    • Automatic alert notifications when tools are not returned in a pre-determined set time frame
    • Manual opening of drawers in case of power failure
    • Proprietary “click-on” technology to guarantee proper storage and accountability of the tools

This solution can be extended to collectors (coins, watches, stamps…), with boxes made out of precious wood and noble materials.
The French company is now seeking to enter into commercial agreements with technical assistance with ends users in the aerospace, automotive, energy, building sectors or with tool manufacturers.

Advantages & innovations

The proprietary technology means RFID tags are inserted within the trolley's drawers instead of encapsulating the tag inlay in a plastic protection attached to tools. It also gives the ability to detect movements on very small or complex parts (a small nut for example), that few systems can offer. The tools are also laser engraved and a reader is attached to the trolley so that each tool clearly belongs to its given trolley.

Stage of development

Already on the market

Partner sought

The French company is looking for industrial partners, SME and groups, from the aerospace, automotive, energy, building and manufacturing sectors. Partners can be final users but also tool manufacturers, interested to offer value added services to their customers through an OEM partnership. Cooperation with potential partner usually starts with the signature of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). The interested partner and the French company will then collaborate to understand the tools management system in place and define potential solutions. Tool list, samples, user access, working environment, interoperability… are key inputs to determine the optimized configuration. The French SME has proven track-record and ability to provide easy-to-use and intuitive solutions.

Contact/ source: Enterprise Europe Network (


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