Services & Solutions

RFID technology places Nexans at the forefront of cable innovation

Olivier Pinto Jun 9, 2020

Real-time cable traceability meets detailed data to help reduce downtime, improve safety, optimise asset management and streamline the supply chain.

Nexans is positioned to expand its offering beyond cables with services and solutions leveraging innovative radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies that straddle the worlds of both hardware and software. 

RFID tags are already well known from their numerous applications such as identity badges, passports and electronic traffic toll payments. This technology is now being applied in the cabling industry to address the challenges of finding and identifying cables buried underground. Introducing RFID to cables will also help to streamline and secure the supply chain and asset management. 

There are two main elements in an RFID system. The first is the RFID tag or smart label, which comprises a tiny electronic chip and an antenna. The tag acts similarly to a barcode, with the advantage that you can read it without needing to see it. The second element is the RFID reader, sometimes known as an interrogator, which collects the data stored on the tag. The readers are available in a variety of configurations, from simple hand-held devices to high-end fixed readers, as necessary for the specific needs of different applications. 
The Nexans solution integrates both hardware and software to improve the traceability of cables and streamline inventory management. 

RFID technology is already used in Nexans’ Smart Inventory Management (SIM) system to help clients monitor and manage their inventories in real time. This online platform uses RFID tags attached to drums and reels to track cable products from leaving the factory to arriving at their destination. Nexans and its clients can monitor transportation, loading and unloading, and stock levels by passing the drums through RFID readers in the receiving area and storage area. Once stock levels fall below a predefined resupply level, the platform initiates automatic restocking by placing a requisition with the Nexans factory. The data carried by the RFID tag can be customised for each application according to individual customer needs. 

Already deployed with more than 20 customers worldwide, Smart Inventory Management allows customers to reduce the working capital tied up in cable inventories by an average of 50%, while at the same time dramatically improving the reliability of the supply chain.

Nexans is now taking the next step in the application of RFID technology by offering smart cables which incorporate RFID tags. These cables feature tags embedded during the manufacturing process. This not only improves inventory transparency, but also the traceability of cables. 

The value created by connecting these cables to the Internet of Things (IoT) is that customers can react faster because they have full access to their cable data. This reduces downtime, improves safety and optimises their asset management. Customers monitor their stock levels in real time and gain greater control over their maintenance operations. The solution is fully customisable to include remote health monitoring. It can also be combined with other electronic sensors to detect and localise faults. 

Our embedded RFID cables are designed for maximum reliability in even the harshest conditions. This is especially useful for industries such as rail, aerospace and renewables such as wind turbines where optimising the uptime of assets is critical.

About the author

Olivier Pinto

Olivier Pinto is Nexans Innovation Director in charge of services and digital solutions for power grids. He leads a team of grid experts developing a portfolio of innovative offerings designed to solve the issues and address the challenges faced by electrical network operators, leveraging on a solid ecosystem of technology partners. Olivier joined Nexans in 2001 and has held various R&D, operational and sales & marketing positions. He holds a M.Sc. from the School of Chemistry, Physics & Electronics of Lyon, France.

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