A significant yard management problem was costing an industrial product manufacturer time, money and energy.
The manufacturer stores raw material in an outdoor laydown yard until it is ready for use. However, the manual system the company uses to track material lots contains major flaws. Operators manually record the location of materials they place in the yard, and then pass that information along for entry into a database. Misplaced files, illegible handwriting and incorrectly entered locations cause severe delays in locating materials.
Needed material routinely goes missing for hours, increasing downtime for expensive factory assets and personnel. The firm calculated that the total cost of misplaced material to be over $1 million per year – at just one of the firm’s multiple locations.
The Vizinex Solution
After thoroughly reviewing and understanding the deployment process with our customer, Vizinex engineers focused on developing a manufacturing method and identifying a material set specifically chosen to withstand the rigors seen in the oil and gas industry to meet the RF performance needs of the application.
The manufacturer contacted Vizinex to explore whether RFID could help solve this problem. Vizinex proposed a proof-of-concept lot tracking system that would prove or disprove the value of RFID for reducing the “time to locate” in the laydown yard. The proposal allowed the customer to test the value of RFID quickly and inexpensively.
The trial system was very simple. Each lot of material was affixed with a durable UHF RFID tag with a read range of about 50 feet. A company truck was outfitted with an RFID reader, a computer and a GPS system. Employees driving around the yard in the equipped vehicle automatically recorded the GPS location of every lot tag the reader detected. The customer then took the data and created an interface that allowed operators to quickly and accurately find the material they needed.
The Vizinex RFID proof-of-concept project validated the theory that an inexpensive RFID system could largely eliminate the “missing material” problem. There are now plans to roll out a full-blown RFID yard management system at all of the manufacturer’s sites.
If you have a challenging RFID tag application, contact us today and realize the benefits of Vizinex RFID.