Maruhachi Ceramics of America (MCA) is employing a radio frequency identification system to track the locations of 50,000 pallets loaded with products, and has thereby reduced its inventory checking time from three days for eight staff members (a total of approximately 190 hours) to only four hours for a single person. The system — consisting of TracerPlus software provided by Portable Technology Solutions (PTS), passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags from Alien Technology, and a Zebra Technologies handheld RFID reader and printer-encoder — also ensures that personnel know where a product is located when they need to load it onto a truck. Since the system was taken live in the yard in February 2015, MCA has expanded it to include supplies and tools, to better ensure that components and materials required for manufacturing can be found when needed.
MCA manufactures approximately 18,000 different types of tiles, varying in shape, style and size, typically for roofing. Its customers are worldwide, predominantly in the Sun Belt areas of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as well as in Hawaii and Guam. An order could include 100,000 tiles, which are made in the California company's own kiln, and are then loaded onto pallets to await shipping.
Because it is very expensive to turn the kiln off and on again, the company typically operates the machine around the clock. Once current orders are complete, workers make other commonly ordered products for future orders, all of which are stored in the yard. The tiles, in fact, can be stored there for years without suffering any damage, though the pallets do not last as long as the tiles do when exposed to harsh weather.
Running a hospital is an enormous logistical challenge. Many hospitals have relied on barcodes and other labor intensive processes to track and manage assets, patients, medications, and more. But these methods divert time and attention away from the primary focus of quality patient care and are often inaccurate measurements as they rely on busy staff members with other priorities.
Today RFID is helping hospitals throughout the world to improve organization, cut costs, and eliminate healthcare risks. Read more to learn about the reasons it benefits hospitals to deploy an RFID solution now.
Embedded UHF RFID is the perfect solution for gaming applications. With a low implementation cost and a fast read speed that doesn’t require the RFID tagged item to be in line of sight, UHF RFID has the capability to greatly enhance how we interact with our favorite board games, video games, and even television game shows.
Hasbro, the makers of SCRABBLE, has announced this year’s final round of the National School SCRABBLE TOURNAMENT will be broadcast live online using an RFID Scrabble board from Mind Sports (International). Each square on the board features an RFID antenna (225 in total) and each tile contains a unique RFID tag. The antennas, which are connected to nine circuit boards, scan the board in 974 milliseconds, analyzing each tile’s placement and allowing viewers online to monitor each team’s tile rack, team score, as well as the ‘Best Word’ each team can play, all in real time. This isn’t the first time RFID has been used in a gaming application.
For utility companies, the management of assets like wooden poles, transformers and wire is complex and labor-intensive. The movement of these large, high-value items can take place at all hours, often involving multiple employees and contractors. During storms and resulting clean-up work, the tracking of inventory can become even more challenging, but it's also more important, since knowing how many of the items are on hand is critical to restoring power.
Westar Energy, in Kansas, has adopted an automated system that employs radio frequency identification technology to track its pole and transformer inventory. The company's suppliers attach passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to all poles and transformers that they ship to three storage yards, where RFID readers are installed at the gates. Contractors' and Westar's vehicles that come and go from the yards have passiveEPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags attached to them as well, so that Westar Energy knows who takes which pole or transformer, when this occurs and when any items are returned. This data, along with daily inventory counts conducted by means of a handheld reader in each yard, ensures that the firm knows what assets it has on hand at any given time, as well as when reordering is necessary. It also saves labor time that workers previously spent manually counting assets within each yard, or making phone calls trying to locate specific items.
Capturing pictures at a corporate party is easy, but pairing those pictures to unknown party guests can be a challenge. When Inmotion was tasked with linking pictures to people at NEC Display’sInfoComm 2015 party at the Tin Roof in Orlando, Florida, they created a RAIN RFID solution to connect people to the pictures they were in.
In traditional manufacturing, both simple and complex product assembly lines require human interaction for success. These interactions include monitoring part inventory levels, ensuring machines are maintained, and identifying possible process improvements. By leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and placing RAIN RFID tags and readers on both products and machines, manufacturers can enable Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0.– the term coined for smart factories where physical processes are machine monitored and machines and products communicate and work together, with humans, in real time. Industry 4.0 also enables data streams to be collected, giving manufacturers advanced analytics for better business decisions.
RFID tag maker Omni-ID has released a new line of high-temperaturepassive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags for use in environments that reach 225 degrees Celsius (437 degrees Fahrenheit). The tags are intended to enable manufacturers, oil producers, hospitals and other companies to employ RFID in traditionally unfriendly environments in which extreme heat is used. The high-temperature tag family consists of the new Fit 100, as well as Fit 210 and Fit 400—high-temperature versions of the company's existing Fit 200 and 400P models. Thousands of the heat-tolerant tags are currently being deployed in manufacturing and health-care settings, says Tracy Gay, Omni-ID's marketing VP.
Each of the three tags is designed to be small, with a read range that reflects its name. With a fixed reader, the Fit 100 has a read distance of 1 meter (3.3 feet), the 210 has a range of slightly more than 2 meters (6.6 feet), and the 400 supports a read distance of 4 meters (13 feet). The tags are somewhat more expensive than the non-high temperature versions, according to Gay, though the specific cost will vary according to the volume of tags ordered.
French heating systems component manufacturer Temiq added Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology to its desludging equipment for use in boilers, in order to enable its customers to better track the conditions of the equipment they use. The company's Ninox desludger, released in May of this year, employs radio frequency identification technology provided by Tagproduct, a French provider of RFID hardware and solutions.
Temiq's Ninox device removes sludge from water circulating in a heating system. The company's customers using the desludger are typically service providers specializing in environmental engineering and maintenance, as well as heating systems. The Ninox is designed to protect the pipes, since sludge causes corrosion over time and affects the heating system's performance, leading to a 10 to 15 percent increase in energy consumption, says Muriel Chenebault, Temiq's marketing director.
Five public schools in Casamassima, a city in Italy's Apulia region, are using a radio frequency identification solution to identify children as they arrive, and to automate the ordering and payment of each child's lunch. Since the system was taken live in fall 2013, the technology has reduced the amount of labor for school personnel, ensured that food isn't wasted due to over-ordering and enabled parents to make lunch payments online.
The system consists of a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag attached to each student's backpack, a reader portal installed at each school's entrance, and software to manage the collected read data, issue alerts and make payment deductions for every meal. The solution is provided by systems integrator Cadan, using RFID hardware supplied byRFID Global by Softwork.
Casamassima has a population of approximately 19,000 people, with about 1,000 students (ages six to 10) attending the city's five primary schools. Traditionally, the students paid for meals using paper food stamps purchased by their parents at the municipal office, which the children then carried to school. A student handed a single food stamp over for each meal received at the cafeteria.
That process, however, was time-consuming for school personnel, who had to take the stamps from students and count them. If any question arose regarding whether a child was eligible for a meal (for instance, if he claimed to have lost his food stamp), the school opted to simply provide him with food. In addition, because the schools didn't know exactly how many lunch-buying students were present on a given day, they often purchased excess food, which was then discarded.
Researchers from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) have invented a method of embedding NFC chips into yarns which are then woven and knitted to make fabrics for clothing. The chips could be used to provide enhanced security in retail, for manufacturing and stock-taking purposes, or to allow for items donated to charity to be tracked around the world.
“Sealed inside resin micro pods within yarns, the fabrics incorporating RFIDs can be run through washing machines and tumble driers without incurring any damage,” the team explains. “Short, thin copper strands attached to either side of the chips are embedded in yarn fibers and act as an antenna.
“Measuring 1mm by 0.5mm in size, when bought in bulk, the chips can cost only a few pence each.”
“We can use different types of chips — NFC or RFID,” Anura Rathnayaka told NFC World. “There is potential for this to be used with mobile phones if required. The technology may allow for multiple garments to be scanned at once, saving time on stock taking. We are currently in discussions with some companies and there is potential for it to be commercially available in the near future.”