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Michelin's King receives Don Percival Award

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Dr. Patrick King, global electronics strategist at Michelin Americas Research & Development Corp. (MARC), was honored recently for his work with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

King received the 2006 Don Percival Award from AIM Global, the association for Automatic Identification and Mobility, and SCAN: the Data Capture Report, a management and marketing newsletter of automatic data capture.

The award acknowledges outstanding contributions to the advancement of automatic identification and mobility solutions. It was established in 1982 to honor Don Percival, an early founder and pioneer in the development of barcode scanning.

"Although it is presented to an individual, the award really recognizes the efforts of Michelin's entire electronics engineering team for years of research and their current support for a standardized solution for RFID automotive applications," said Dr. King, who was recognized for his work to develop and standardize RFID tags for tires.

In a written statement accompanying the award, AIM Global stated, "Working together with the Michelin teams, industry and international organizations, Dr. King's vision and leadership has led to the establishment of a single tire standard. He continues to work towards the development of global standards in the area of RFID applications, quality, and data content."

RFID technology utilizes a microchip and small antenna that can be embedded into a tire during the manufacturing process to retain and transmit data accessible by a reader.

A recent consensus among industry stakeholders has proposed a harmonized data structure for RFID tags that would allow electronic product code (EPC) information to be combined with traditional industry data.

"Solving the technical challenges, such as assuring the embedded chip will properly bond with the tire's rubber and maintain a sufficient read distance, has only been part of the solution for bringing RFID technology to market," said King. "Determining an accepted global structure for the data contained in RFID tags is a critical element toward establishing an efficient and cost-effective deployment of this technology."

Engineers at Michelin have been working to support industry standardization of RFID tags for tires and other automotive applications since 2000; the company has been testing RFID technology since the 1980s.

In 2001, standardizing RFID technology in automotive tires was championed by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), which formed a technically credible, neutral-based forum for discussion. AIAG maintains the current automotive standard, AIAG B-11, which establishes recommended practices for tire data.

However, variations in data requirements by original equipment manufacturers, supply chain networks, retail establishments, commercial users, and tire manufactures have generated a myriad of data structures in use.

"We recognized an opportunity to bring together all of the stakeholders to develop an RFID tire standard that would be beneficial to the industry as a whole," said Morris Brown, AIAG spokesperson. "Michelin's involvement has been a catalyst for the process, and we are pleased that they have been joined by representatives of other tire manufactures and global organizations, which include Odette in Europe and JAPIA, JAMA and JATMA in Japan, to bring these discussions to fruition."

In 2003, Michelin introduced a proprietary RFID tag design that is capable of meeting the proposed data structure recommended by the AIAG working group and potential ISO standardization.

"Michelin has liberally licensed this patented technology to electronics suppliers, including HANARFID, AWID, ACG and Sharp, in order to make it available for broad utilization by the tire manufacturing industry," said King. "While the application of a proprietary solution of RFID for tires may satisfy a closed-loop application for a single tire manufacturer, the proliferation of multiple RFID systems by multiple tire manufacturers would likely create costs that would make the technology impractical for broad application.

"For this reason Michelin continues to work to remove any barriers to the creation of a unified standard that will be able to be sourced and utilized by the entire industry."

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