Bristol Uniforms, one of the world’s leading emergency services protective clothing brands, has selected RFID tags from Harland Simon’s Vero range to future-proof its garments and prepare for automated tracking of uniforms handled by its managed services.

Bristol Uniforms has purchased a total of 4,000 passive RFID tags to enable it to fit each newly manufactured uniform item with a tag which is securely sewn into a pocket in the garment. The waterproof neoprene RFID tag can withstand temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius, which means it survives in most fire-fighting conditions as well as during professional cleaning procedures.

Bristol Uniforms has a managed care programme which is designed to allow fire and rescue services to rely on the manufacturer to supply a lifetime garment care process rather than undertake these in-house.

Edward Shepherd, Service Operations Director at Bristol Uniforms, comments: “Fitting our garments with RFID tags is the first step to automating the tracking of items through our managed care programme, from collection at the emergency services through washing, inspection and repair cycles right through to return delivery.”

Currently, every garment is fitted with a barcode label which is scanned manually on collection. This is a time consuming process as each item has to be handled individually, and the barcode found. As a manual process it can also be prone to human error.

Edward explains: “Automatic scanning with RFID readers will considerably cut down the time our drivers spend when collecting garments. Multiple items can be scanned simultaneously and without the need to find the bar code. This means they will be able to scan a whole collection bag full of items without even having to take a single one out.”

Ultimately, tracking information will be made available on an online portal to provide full visibility for Bristol Uniform customers to track their garments through each stage of the managed services process.