UHF Makes its Mark in Manufacturing

20455435_xxlWe’ve recently seen some trade magazine articles and white papers about using RFID in manufacturing that have an outdated view of the technology. The coverage correctly explains that RFID can automate and improve work-in-process (WIP) tracking and other production processes. The guidance becomes misleading when it suggests that high frequency (HF), 13.56 MHz RFID technology is needed for use in industrial environments.

There was a time when 13.56 MHz RFID was the best option for use around assembly lines and other operations where metal was present. That time was many years ago. UHF RFID tags are read millions of times every day in factories thanks to innovation by Xerafy and others that have made it practical to use UHF on and around metal objects. Continue reading

Retail RFID Could Get a Boost by Tracking More Products

15515382_xxlIf you were a retailer, would you keep a few aisles closed some days so no one could shop there?

Of course not. To offset the sunk costs of rent, electricity, inventory, staff and other expenses, retailers need to make as much of their merchandise available for sale as possible. They wouldn’t intentionally prevent customers from buying what they wanted, yet that is what is happening within many retail RFID programs.

So far most retailers that use RFID are only tagging a portion of their product lines. That means they are not getting as much return on their investments in RFID readers and software as they could. It also means their inventory accuracy and shelf availability is not as high as it could be – and that prevents customers from making purchases. Continue reading

Xerafy Helps Automakers Automate the Paint Shop

81693796A recent Automation World article noted: “In the automotive world, a unique identifier RFID tag can do everything from telling robots how to paint cars, to what colors to paint them. ” It says one of the most important reasons for the increased use of RFID in automotive manufacturing has been the development of tags that can be read on metal. Xerafy’s read-on-metal tags have helped bring RFID into paint shops and other automotive work-in-process tracking applications. Now, RFID has become the go-to technology for automotive paint shop operations. This blog will help explain why.

Automakers and other industry product manufacturers have been interested in using RFID to help automate paint shop operations since at least the early 1990s. What Henry Ford pioneered decades ago remains true today: the more of processes automakers can automate and optimize, the more competitive they will be. The paint shop has been one of the last frontiers for automated tracking systems. Continue reading

FAQ for UDI

FDA-UDI-300x112The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently published an FAQ and other guidance about its Unique Device Identification (UDI) requirement to permanently identify medical devices. Xerafy has experience with UDI solutions and we are getting a lot of questions about where RFID technology fits in the UDI program, which we address in the following FAQs.

Q: If I use RFID for the UDI, do I need to have a bar code too?

A. No. Bar codes are not required for UDI labeling. The FDA made a point not to require bar codes because it wanted to give labelers the flexibility to use the automatic identification technology that best meets their product requirements.

Q. Do we need to retroactively apply UDI labels to devices that were in service before the UDI Rule was created?

A. No, but it is something to consider. The UDI program provides a consistent format for identifying devices and managing data. The consistency could be very valuable for asset management, inventory control and lifecycle management operations. Otherwise, organizations will need to maintain databases that use different item ID formats, which could contribute to errors or cause interoperability issues. Your automated asset management program becomes more valuable the more items you include in it. Continue reading

Three Things You Need to Know About Flyable Parts Tracking

flyableTraceability and visibility are valuable for many processes, but they are necessities in the aerospace industry. If a part’s identity and history can’t be verified it can’t go up in the air, so there is a real possibility that a multimillion dollar aircraft can be grounded because of insufficient records for a $10 part. Aircraft operators can’t afford ignorance about flyable part identities, and they also can’t afford delays while parts are investigated and records are consulted. The industry simply doesn’t have the profit margins to allow expensive assets and specialized employees to sit idle because of preventable delays.

These safety and business realities are why Xerafy and RFID technology have found a home in the aerospace industry – not just for airlines, but for any organization that is responsible for maintaining and building or providing parts. As Carlo Nizam, who leads RFID efforts at Airbus said in a recent RFID Journal article: “We believe very strongly the RFID part-mark capability can improve how we trace things, not just for us but the whole value chain.” Continue reading