One Button RFID Tracking - Across 50 Construction Sites

Case study from PANMOBIL - how large companies are using RFID and bar codes to track equipment.

The Ludwig Pfeiffer structural and civil engineering GmbH & CoKG in Leipzig uses over 6000 equipments on their construction sites like the simple cable drum, the excavator shovel and the big crawler excavator. To ensure that all the equipment can be used at the right location, the Pfeiffer headquarter needs to know, where to find each equipment at all times to be able to coordinate them in the ongoing operation. Thanks to PANMOBIL, REUTEMANN.NET, GPS and RFID their equipment controlling has been revolutionized.

Coordination of more than 50 construction sites at the same time 

(Image on right: CEO Frank Menzel in a vehicle equipped with a GPS-Box and Scanner)Reuthemann7-300x240  With the numerous constructional sites around Leipzig, in the whole federal territory, and the bordering countries, the coordination of all relevant construction equipment is a challenging act for the controller at Pfeiffer. The headquarter in Leipzig not only needs to know where to find each equipment at all times for them to be ideally distributed on the individual construction site “along with that, the company with which we are certified according to DIN ISO 9000 and SCC needs to know the complete history of its electro and special equipment”, reports Frank Menzel graduate engineer CEO of the Ludwig Pfeiffer structural and civil engineering GmbH & CoKG. “That requires the knowledge of the location of the equipment as well as the complete clarification of the frequent maintenances and examinations.” Before the cutover to the new AutoID solution the whole communication based on paperwork. When an equipment changed its location, the manager of the construction site who the equipment had been assigned to, filled out a machinery dispatch note and sent it to Leipzig, where it had been typed into the computer. Neither a real time classification on the right location nor a supervision of the maintenance had been possible with that procedure. Whenever the dispatch note had been entered, the equipment had been on another construction site already. Furthermore there had been a lot of entry mistakes like transposed digits and typing errors. And the proof of the real time maintenance required a time consuming exchange of paperwork. “That is why we looked for an integrated IT-solution in Fall 2009. We reviewed different systems, which transferred the data via GPS. Non of them suited our perceptions completely. But then we discovered the solution of REUTEMANN.NET and PANMOBIL!” Menzel explains.

Data synchronization via a GPS-Box and PANMOBIL scanner


RFID-chip (the rectangular badge with number, top left on the red box)  The technology system house REUTEMANN.NET specialized on RFID technology and Geolocalization, equips each construction equipment with a RFID chip. The RFID and barcode scanner of the product series “SCANNDY” of advanced PANMOBIL systems, read the data on the chip and transmit them via the GPS-Box to an internet portal. The data includes the location of the equipment, its identification and the current status. “The data is available worldwide on every internet working station, as long as the administrative privileges are provided”, Jens Reutemann says CEO of REUTEMANN.NET. “Based on our mobileLocationController. This program receives the data of the location and the status message via GPS. Via GPRS and UMTS additional data transmits automatically in eligible intervals for example for the controlling of defective equipment through which the duration of the deficiency can be evaluated at any time. The software developed by REUTEMANN.NET evaluates the data and makes them readable”. Each equipment and each vehicle at Ludwig Pfeiffer is assigned to a construction manager and to a GPS dispatcher, which is installed in the vehicle and the SCANNDYs are attached to for the data transmission. It was an easy choice for Reutemann to use the application of AutoID tools from PANMOBIL. “The scanner are made for rough application environments like construction sites! Because of the high safety class they could fall down, get dirty – no problem at all. And they are big enough and very handy so they can easily be used with working gloves. And even greater we are able to technically programming them as we need at any time”, he says.

Direct persecution in current operation
Reuthemann8-300x148Through the RFID/GPS-location system all movenments of the vehicles and the devices can be followed at any time

The construction manager, the so called foreman doesn’t need to do anything more with this elaborated system, but to scan the RFID chips with the PANMOBIL scanner whenever he gives away one of his construction equipments to a colleague or whenever he receives a new one. The GPS-Box in his vehicle transfers the location data of the vehicle automatically and the data assigned to the equipment of the foreman to the headquarter in Leipzig. There the construction site will be located automatically via the coordination and the equipments will be save for allocation. The departmental manager sees the construction site as a new defined location on the map. From that point on the position reports of the vehicle assigned equipment to the foreman will be booked automatically to the accounts of the construction site. If there is no place for the RFID chip on the excavator shovel, the construction equipment is marked with a barcode, which also be scanned and transmitted via the box in the vehicle. “In Leipzig we see via mouse click, where our 6000 equipments are currently located and we also see the equipment history with all the maintenance appointments and we are able to print them,” says Menzel. As well as the requirements of the disposition and also the quality safety and quality control are fulfilled. Additionally the invoicing for each construction site is clearly faster and safer. There aren’t any delays, any entry mistakes , any long lasting phone calls asking qustions and any disappeared equipments. Control appointments can be followed up and the equipments don’t need to be manually entered for accounting purposes.

RFID solution provides further coordination advantages

Reuthemann3-300x217Scanning of the RFID-chips after reparation at the exit. The RFID-chip is the white round badge at the cable connection

If an equipment is marked as defective on a construction site, the headquarter sees that right away. When the equipment arrives in Leipzig for reparation, it will be scanned at the entry and recognized immediately and the reparation will be entered in the equipment history. Only when the maintenance department gives their “OK” the equipment can be scheduled and be used again on a construction site. “ All investments for the solution redeemed after one to two years” Menzel says. Two co-worker, who manually entered the data, could be assigned for more productive activities. The saved phone calls compensate the GPS transmitting costs-approximately by 50% of the time for entries applied to phone calls. At the construction sites aboard the attention only needs to be on the countries specific rates. Another applied solution places itself in the payroll accounting, which became faster and safer. The solution likewise developed by REUTEMANN.NET called “Construction time” with which every Staff member transmit their working hours with an individual RFID chip directly via the mobileLocationController to Leipzig. The assignment to the construction site is secured automatically and there aren’t any mistakes by manually entering. The employees don’t need to fill out any report sheets and the invoice processing is also relieved.


The PANMOBIL team looks back to over 30 years of development and distribution of AutoID periphery and data capturing software. The first barcode systems originated by the Cologne AutoID experts in 1985, whose data output took place via computer keyboards. This meant a breakthrough in logistic and POS area with which the input of the medium barcode became possible without any software adjustments. Today over 85% of all barcode systems are embedded in this way. This pioneer work with the connected active local application at the user end the PANMOBIL team has been successfully implementing with plenty projects in the home country and foreign countries.

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