FMC Deploys Next-Generation RFID Technology

FMC Technologies is developing next-generation tracking technologies for its products with the help of the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group (OGR). FMC manufactures and services equipment used for hydraulic fracturing, a process used to stimulate production in an oil or natural gas formation. The company is using state-of-the art radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking technology to identify parts as they move from to the well-site and into the service center.

Hydraulic fracturing is a process that involves pumping very high pressure fluids through a network of oil field products such as pipe, valves, swivels, and other components that are interconnected and attached to manifold trucks with powerful pumps on one end and the well at the other. This fluid is pumped under high pressure to break apart the formation.

These oil field parts and their structural integrity is critical to safe and efficient operation of hydraulic fracturing.

The RFID tags attached to the assets provide a means of automating the identification process and dramatically decrease the time it takes to process equipment into and out of the field. They replace an old identification methodology of engraved serial numbers on metal bands that required reorientation of heavy objects and careful inspection of the band to identify the part ID.

Adam Berg, Engineering Service Manager at FMC Technologies and his team, are focused on addressing specific pain points of the industry with RFID technology, which include redundant inspections, job delays due to out-of-compliant parts, and job cancellations.

"The intent is to increase safety and efficiency, while also realizing cost savings for our customers," Berg said.

FMC has developed a comprehensive business case behind the technology and its use within the hydraulic fracturing industry. This includes estimates of $60 million in savings per year industry-wide.

"RFID technology provides our customers with substantial improvements in their ability to address and improve some common industry pains around part inspections and identification. The ability of RFID to alleviate or eliminate these issues is key to our business case," said

The OGR, the international advisory council for RFID in oil and gas, has supported FMC in both tag design and data standards for the industry.

"Information is increasingly valuable, yet progressively more difficult to retrieve, in rural and remote areas that many of these well stimulation activities are performed in. Empowering the field operative with data, where wireless communication is limited or non-existent, opens the door to unseen and remarkable operational possibilities," commented Konrad Konarski, Co-Founder of the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group, on the benefits of using RFID technology during hydraulic fracturing jobs.

As part of OGR's work with FMC Technologies and other industry leading service companies, the organization is endorsing specific RFID
equipment, such as RFID tags designed for the complex environment of hydraulic fracturing. The group's intent is to support the growth of
equipment and data standards so that the wide-spread use of the technology can happen seamlessly.

"We will be making several key announcements around tag designs, data standards, and success stories at our upcoming preconference, in
partnership with RFID Journal, in Orlando, Florida, on April 15th that we feel will have a game-changing impact on the entire industry," added

In further pursuit of exploring the holistic benefits of RFID, FMC Technology has recently joined the Oil & Gas RFID Solution Group, whose members include companies such as BP, ExxonMobil, Weir SPM , Dow Chemical and several key consumers and subject-matter experts in the fields of oil, gas, and RFID.