USING RFID IN WORK-IN-PROCESS TRACKING
MORE HASTE, LESS SPEED
How many times have you heard this proverbial saying suggesting that if you do something too quickly, you will probably make mistakes?
Well, as for production, it’s all about finding the right balance between accuracy and speed.
Well-coordinated production chains are essential to manufacturers to work effectively, providing the right products, in the right amounts, at the right time.
At the same time more and more production systems and controls require a lot of data, even real-time ones, to optimize the processes.
RFID technology may be the real answer to this dilemma and bring significant benefits both by providing accurate information and by enabling real-time multiple data reading and capturing. And as for speed, ease and accuracy no contest against other technologies.
TRACING MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
Today manufacturing processes are very complex to manage, not only for the need to orchestrate big number of parts, but also for the constant push to get more efficiency and reduce costs.
Work-in-process tracking should assure control, productivity, accuracy and quality: RFID technology may automatically capture information about the items, goods and raw materials, people and processes critical to operations.
Thanks to RFID technology, you can identify exactly and real-time any material on the line, how it moves along the processes, how long it takes at each step or identify automatically and remotely where it is located, so that an alert may report if an item is brought to the wrong process location or skips a stage. Isn’it magic?
Thanks to these real-time, continuous data flow, plant managers may realize where problems are, potential bottlenecks or timing issues or how to improve the flow in the best way: it’s an exceptional help to get aware and take decisions.
SPEED, EASE AND ACCURACY: RFID OR BARCODE?
Let’s see if barcodes may be a real alternative. There are obviously pros and cons for both technology and the choice depends on budget, purpose and environment.
Barcodes are obviously cheaper, need line-of-sight and cannot enable multiple reading at high speed.
As for speed, it’s simply said: it takes around 38 seconds to scan 12 bottles using a barcode scanner while RFID readers picks all in just over one second.
In production the difference means a significant costs reduction.
As for ease, in production the environment is not always suitable for barcode.
Imagine how difficult it could be using a barcode scanner in not proper light conditions on the printed surface: using near-field technology RFID works in any situation.
As for accuracy, it’s not only a matter of how difficult barcode reading may be with damaged labels or bad conditions: RFID is more accurate as data are stored on the chip which can be read and translated quickly and also updated with new information.
HOW IT WORKS?
RFID tags may be attached to the good being produced or a traveler that accompanies the good, and also raw material can be tagged to track consumption.
Each tag contains data about the process and the collocation, but it can also be enriched during working.
Through readers and gateway, that are strategic reading points, tags are read allowing information collection and sending data to software systems or portals, where they are managed and stored.
Thanks to RFID key product movements are tracked:
- when a product reaches a specific stage of manufacturing;
- how long a stage is taking;
- if exceptions are occurring;
- if a key step has not been completed;
- where an item is currently located;
- where are delays, and so on.
The flow is well identified, data are automatically collected and the management is easier: next step (in next life :) is the chance to understand more by applying machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.
EAGER TO KNOW MORE ABOUT RFID APPLICATIONS?
Are you willing to know more about how you could implement RFID to improve your production system?
Please get in touch with our Inventag Team: we’ll be glad to help you!
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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