WITRON to use RFID for Major Project in Spain

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH of Parkstein in Germany, is implementing RFID technology for the first time within a project for the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona. The new logistics centre - which has been designed to handle 265,000 ft3 per day within the dry goods section and 198,000 ft3 per day in the fresh and frozen goods areas - will use Witron's innovative OPM (Order Picking Machinery) for the fully automated picking of single units (cases) to ensure optimum supply to the retail stores and maximum handling efficiency. For the identification of system pallets used for storing all incoming pallets in the goods-in area, Witron will use RFID-tags integrated in the individual system pallets, rather than conventional barcode labels.

Availability optimized by means of RFID-tags
Barcode technology is prone to practical problems such as partially obscured scanning points, damaged barcodes or adverse lighting conditions. RFID-tags are more reliable in use and, especially within this application, cheap to integrate, since the defined and short scanning distance means that the investment required for the scanning unit is only slightly higher than that required for barcode technology. This identification method secures important advantages for Mercadona, since it increases the availability and reliability of the entire system. The RFID-tags do not have special demands in terms of quality, as space restrictions and the like do not have to be considered. The scanning rate of almost 100% and the long lifespan of the RFID-tags also result in quantifiable process advantages.

RFID Technology within the Fresh and Frozen Goods Areas
All dry, fresh and frozen goods will be handled on plastic system pallets equipped with RFID-tags. Mercadona's suppliers are currently using plastic pallets - although without RFID technology - for the fresh and frozen goods areas, which include meat as well as fruit and vegetables. In the course of routine pallet wear, there will be a gradual change-over from conventional plastic pallets to RFID system pallets within the fresh and frozen goods areas, which will result in fewer and fewer of the incoming goods having to be placed on system pallets. This means that the system pallets will not only be used as the in-house transport device, but will also be used within the supply chain. At present it is planned that the RFID-tag will be provided with a 12-digit pallet number for clear identification purposes. Further information, such as the relevant product data, is stored in the Warehouse Management System.

The new Mercadona logistics centre comprises 29,000 pallet locations for dry and fresh/frozen goods that are turned over at an average of one to three days. This highly dynamic system - which includes fully automated picking - is capable of processing a daily volume of 375,000 cases. Witron sees the implementation of this RFID technology as an important first step for gaining practical experience. Practical use in the logistics area will show the scope of further applications that can be realized by means of RFID within the internal logistics business.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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