Log house manufacturer Honkarakenne has gained substantial benefits since implementing RFID tags in its production.
Tags attached to individual logs contribute to the fact that several unique detached houses can be manufactured simultaneously. In addition to accelerating the manufacturing process, the tags indicate the correct location for each log in the construction stage. From the customers' perspective this means faster and accurately compiled deliveries. Honkarakenne's RFID system uses UHF EPC Gen2 ShortDipole tags from UPM Raflatac.
Honkarakenne was one of the first in its field to start piloting an RFID system in 2007, and the experience has been good. "Unlike the bar code technology we used before, the RFID tags do not require a direct line of sight with the reader and they function faultlessly even in demanding industrial environments. We have achieved excellent read rates, so it is no longer necessary to identify logs manually. This, in turn, has accelerated our processes," says Olavi Piispanen, Maintenance Manager at Honkarakenne.
Each log house consists of some thousand logs. Each log and it's millings need to be carefully identified in the production phase for them to arrive in the right place at the construction stage. "In practice, tags are attached to each log after they have been cut to the right measurements during planing. The tags then inform the production line about the actions that need to be carried out on individual logs. RFID readers located in automated machines identify the logs, and tooling machines carry out actions defined in the design phase. Next, the logs are identified just before the computer vision which is used to check that the logs have been through all the right operations. The logs are identified once more before packing to assure accurately compiled deliveries to builders, complete with a packing list," Piispanen explains. Honkarakenne currently uses around 2,000 RFID tags in its production each day.
Confirming the authenticity and origin of products and introducing automation to various functions are typical of the industry challenges solved by RFID. "As raw material costs continue to rise, materials need to be utilized more carefully. Speed and efficiency in the supply chain are competitive advantages, and an area where RFID offers undisputed benefits," says Jari Ovaskainen, Business Development Director, UPM Raflatac, RFID.