The RFID marker provides data at lightning speed Customized RFID marker with app for the efficient testing of lightning protection systems
In order to ensure the function of a lightning protection system is safeguarded for the future, regularly maintaining and testing these systems is crucially important. It is essential to have the latest technical documentation directly accessible on site. This is a major challenge with paper-based management systems. The RFID markers in the PMSP-RFID/NFC product group in combination with a specially developed smartphone app address precisely this point and offer an efficient system solution for this requirement.
The company Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG
As one of Germany’s leading companies for lightning and surge protection, Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG has been installing lightning protection systems for 70 years. During this time, more than 100,000 lightning protection systems have been installed for nearly 20,000 customers and tested regularly. The company covers the entire range of lightning protection services. This includes the planning, installation, and testing of external and internal lightning protection systems for private and commercial properties as well as the special protection of industrial plants and public institutions. Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co KG is represented by its 120 employees at 15 locations throughout Germany.
The customer requirements
The effort required for testing lightning protection systems and documenting these tests is formidable. Therefore, Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG recognized early on that paperless and digitally supported testing of installed lightning protection systems offers enormous added value. As a system provider for industrial identification solutions, Phoenix Contact specified these requirements and developed a customized solution concept. The aim was to develop a perfectly coordinated system solution that would help increase efficiency. The key elements here are a durable and highly resistant marking solution and the contactless writing and reading of data directly on site.
Lightning protection systems are located outdoors. They are exposed to the environmental conditions of the seasons 365 days a year. For this reason, particularly high demands are placed on a permanent identification solution. For this application, the weather-resistant markers of the PMSP-RFID/NFC product group are the ideal solution. They have high UV resistance and can withstand drastic temperature fluctuations between -25°C to +60°C. They are also water repellent and particularly color-fast. The marker was tailor-made to the geometry and design required by the customer. Durable marking is made possible with the help of the proven UV LED technology of the BLUEMARK ID and BLUEMARK ID COLOR printers.
To enable service professionals to carry out efficient and paperless maintenance work on the lightning protection systems, the marker is also equipped with an NFC transponder. The transponder contains both an antenna and a chip. This enables a clear and contactless identification of the marked objects. Today, more and more smartphones have an NFC interface. This makes it possible to write to and read from an RFID maker without the need for another reader. This is why a customized app with a Microsoft Sharepoint connection for Android and iOS was developed for Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG. This makes communication between RFID marker and smartphone very simple and targeted.
The identification solution
On any particular building, there are several protective devices that have a separable connection point, also called a “separation or measuring point,” in the area close to the ground. These measuring points are numbered in logical order and marked with an RFID marker. A URL is stored in the chip of the NFC transponder. This URL gives the service technician direct access to the digital technical documents (installation plan, test certificates, maintenance documentation, etc.) at the touch of a button. Since these documents are stored centrally in one share point, up-to-date information can always be accessed. The documents can be changed or added to immediately or soon after the need is identified. The specially developed smartphone app ensures that only authorized personnel have access to the sometimes sensitive data. The central storage and management of all documents offers a decisive advantage not only to the service technicians of Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG, but also to their customers. The owners or operators of the buildings concerned also have direct access to all the information. This makes it very easy for them to provide the insurance companies with documentation that is relevant and always up-to-date.
“[...] Phoenix Contact analyzed our individual requirements in detail and worked out an optimized solution together with us. The development of the smart disconnect point from Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG should make things even more simple for the customer, especially in documentation, and bring a significant increase in efficiency.”
The success story of Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG
The RFID marker and the smartphone app for writing to and reading from the NFC interface simplify and speed up the testing of lightning protection systems. With the identification solution developed by Phoenix Contact customers can increase efficiency during testing and maintenance work. By using it, Hans Thormählen GmbH & Co. KG was able to further extend its leading position in the field of lightning and surge protection systems.