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RFID labels from Schreiner LogiData enable efficient road reconstruction

RFID for non-woven geosynthetics

Cracks and potholes: Winter takes its toll on roads and highways. Heavy traffic can cause cavities to form in paved roads. In low winter temperatures, water seeping into these cavities will freeze and expand. When the ice melts the asphalt starts to crumble. Experts sometimes compare this type of road damage to tooth decay. To treat it, non-woven geosynthetics are used to bond the new surface with the road-bed. Polyfilld equips these asphalt non-wovens with RFID labels from Schreiner LogiData for more efficient checks of road surface and road-bed conditions.

With a total road network length of 620.000 kilometers, maintenance costs are on the increase every year in Germany. Therefore economical reconstruction methods and innovative materials, such as non-woven geosynthetics, are in demand. “Non-woven geosynthetics are inserted between the pavement and the road-bed in the process of repaving roads,” explains Rainer Lugmayr, business director at Polyfilld. They prevent the intrusion of precipitation and mitigate crack formation by reducing the stress between the upper layers of the pavement and the road-bed. 

To assess the full extent of new damage in spring, the asphalt has to first be checked and samples have to be taken. “But local evaluations are very complex and costly,” adds Lugmayr. Schreiner LogiData together with Polyfilld has developed an efficient and cost-saving solution for which the geosynthetics are equipped with RFID labels. The RFID chips serve to store information about the strengths and structures of the various road layers and materials plus road construction data and additional quality characteristics. To read and edit the data, vehicles are equipped with write/read units allowing the information to be read, changed and stored again onboard the moving vehicle.

Robust RFID Labels for Extreme Demands
RFID labels used in these special applications have to resist high mechanical loads. “That’s why we protect the transponder with a plastic coating, which prevents it from breaking under isolated pressures,” explains Johannes Becker, Head of the Schreiner LogiData Competence Center. A specialty adhesive that immediately hardens ensures firm bonding of the RFID label to the geosynthetic material. The transponder operates in the high-frequency range, which allows effective reading and writing of data even in deep asphalt and concrete pavements. Not even water interferes with the radio waves.

“The RFID labels have proven their viability in daily use. They make all the key data available to road maintenance crews which they need for assessing road conditions,” says Lugmayr. This results in a massive reduction of costs for structural examinations. Schreiner LogiData is also currently working on an ultra-high frequency version of the RFID label. Due to the higher range the data could then be conveniently read even from a vehicle moving at higher speed.