The Nexus of Forces in Action – Use-Case 19: Maintenance of Air Conditioning



Optimization of the maintenance of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

Primary Industry Sectors

Consumer electronics

Business Value

Cost-effective delivery of HVAC maintenance.

Key Business Functions

Spares stock management, maintenance management, maintenance work scheduling

Primary Actors

HVAC maintenance engineer

Secondary Actors

HVAC equipment designer, maintenance management planner

Machine Actors

Mobile work schedule and tracking app, intelligent facility maintenance management app, GPS tracking, spares stock planning app, transport scheduling app, social networks, messaging alerts

Key Technologies

IoT, mobile, cloud, big data, social

Main Scenario

Each engineer has a van with its on-board stock of spare parts and tools, which are continually updated using RFID tags attached to every “key” item. A service call is requested, by the house owner, by an automatic alarm from the equipment, or through data analysis in a back-end system. The most appropriate van is routed to the new location, depending on several factors: type of equipment to be serviced, urgency, spare parts available in the van, maintenance engineer’s skills and working schedule, proximity of the van to the target, etc. The proper time for repair is also negotiated and an appointment is scheduled between the house owner and maintenance engineer.

During maintenance, the engineer can receive context-related support through his or her portable device, acting as an interface to the equipment and the data collected from it, as well as to the company or community; e.g., for support or hints from colleagues, re-ordering spare parts, using the vehicle printer, etc. Software agents estimate the status of condition-based maintenance in nearby houses and buildings in case it would be possible for the engineer to perform such maintenance, again taking into account his schedule, spare parts availability, accessibility to the target, etc. After maintenance, all actions performed are logged to the maintenance management system, as well as into the Intelligent House’s own lifecycle management information system.

Key Data

Master Data

Maintenance spares record, RFID item record, maintenance schedule, engineering skills task record, re-order threshold rules for spares, maintenance work schedule, GPS location of maintenance staff and transport to asset

Current Observations Data

Current status of asset operation, maintenance in progress, stock spares level, re-order progress tracking, location of asset scheduled tasks

Historical Data

Asset maintenance planned and actual, MTBF, MTBPM, planned and actual spares stock consumption

Query Data

Validation of compliance to maintenance legal requirement, cost of spares inventory per asset, time of maintenance of asset, uptime availability of asset, alternative spares

Action Taken Data

Reduced spares stocking level, optimized planned maintenance task schedule, optimal transport to spares and maintenance, asset replacement investment plan

Real Business Examples

Frankfurt Airport

“Frankfurt Airport is using RFID to confirm that inspections of fire safety equipment are conducted. Fraport, the company that runs the airport, started using RFID in 2003 to manage and document the federally mandated maintenance of fire shutters in its air-conditioning and heating ducts.”

“Fire shutters within an HVAC system are designed to close automatically to keep fire and smoke from spreading throughout a building's ducts. Passive 13.56 MHz tags were added to individual fire shutters, and maintenance engineers use hand-held computers equipped with RFID interrogators to identify each shutter and document any inspections, maintenance work, and repairs.”

“To date, the airport has tagged more than 50,000 shutters within the 440-building complex. The system worked so well that Fraport also tagged 80,000 fire doors, smoke detectors, and emergency lights, making RFID integral to the airport's facilities management.”

(Source: Mark Roberti’s article in RFID Journal.)


“Exclusively with Fujitsu and a major US airline, Boeing has developed, tested, and validated the airline industry’s first comprehensive RFID and Contact Memory Button (CMB) technology for commercial airplanes. This system can significantly reduce an airline’s operating costs by eliminating untimely, labor-intensive maintenance while providing easy access to maintenance histories.”

“Boeing’s RFID Integrated Solutions system employs unique tools such as RFID and CMB to automatically identify, track, and manage critical airplane parts. It is a comprehensive solution for a series of integrated technologies and maintenance process improvements that can help airlines improve their overall maintenance efficiency and performance. By providing a comprehensive, turnkey solution, RFID Integrated Solutions eliminates the need and long lead time for operators to retrofit their fleets with automated identification technology themselves.”

(Source: Phil Coop’s article on the Boeing website.)

Additional Considerations

Existing Interoperability Standards

See Use-Case 20: Safe Mobility.

Comments on Context

Use of passive RFID tags that are interrogated by hand-held devices used by engineers.


Spares and assets are embedded with RFIDs.