The computer says it’s there – but where is it?

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RFID’s ability to track items can revolutionise production and logistics. Munzi Ali of CoreRFID shows how five leading manufacturers have enhanced their operation.

A major challenge in manufacturing and logistics is keeping track of assets – from components or raw materials to the finished goods.

The computer can tell you where an item should be, but not where it actually is. By providing a direct link between the two, RFID technology can revolutionise production and warehouse management.

RFID allows you to automate processes and brings greater visibility to production. It offers rapid return on investment and can be integrated with existing production and ERP systems.

Here are five ways in which clients have used our systems to enhance their operation:

  1. Improving despatch times

Vitafoam, one of Europe’s leading foam producers, relied on a paper system to manage storage and distribution of foam blocks at its Manchester plant. However speed of dispatch was hampered by the need to search for finished products within the warehouses and sometimes goods were not found in time to fulfil orders.

Using its new system from CoreRFID, RFID labels are attached to all finished foam blocks and staff can see their exact location at any time. The system has improved despatch times, enhanced customer service and made life easier for employees.

  1. Gaining better control of production

Syngenta is one of the world’s largest producer of agricultural chemicals and its site in Grangemouth, Scotland produces crop protection products for farmers worldwide. The company wanted to be able to see the whereabouts of ingredients and industrial bulk containers (IBCs) within the site in real time. An automated system from CoreRFID has enabled Syngenta to keep track of each item and ensure the right product is in the right place at the right time. It has also helped them company to step up production and reduce the risk of error.

  1. Minimising downtime

Ulster Carpets supplies Axminster and Wilton carpets to some of the world’s most prestigious hotels. At its factory in Portadown, Northern Ireland, yarns of different colours are wound on to individual bobbins and placed on the loom to be woven. However as some carpets use more of one particular colour, the loom had to be stopped to replace a bobbin, creating delays in the process. Now RFID tags on individual bobbins match the correct yarns to be woven together and link to the company’s IT system to ensure a more efficient process that saves time and money. 

  1. Reducing use of raw materials

MX Group is the UK’s leading manufacturer of shower trays. At its Gloucestershire plant products are manufactured using moulds which are filled with resin and fired in curing ovens. The company had 1,000 moulds of over 200 different types – each requiring a different quantity of resin, and a different firing and curing time.

MX Group wanted to optimise production, improve the reuse of moulds and save raw materials. Each mould now has its own RFID tag. As moulds reach the point where they are about to be filled, an RFID reader identifies the type of mould, links it with the weighing terminal and specifies the exact quantity of resin required. The system has enabled the company to reduce waste and given it greater control over the entire production process.

  1. Saving energy costs

Vaillant Group is leading manufacturer of boilers and its Derbyshire plant has a track record for production efficiency. It uses RFID to monitor the movement of boilers through the assembly process and guide operators on which step is needed next. By automatically detecting the arrival of a chassis at each production stage, the system can power up only those tools required for use.

It not only ensures that the process is followed in the correct sequence and prevents the wrong tools from being used.  It also saves energy costs, helping to reduce Vaillant’s carbon footprint.

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