Industrial RFID technology takes RFID past supply chain applications, into Manufacturing and Production, with more demanding application environments like those found in automotive manufacturing.
An RFID system properly designed for manufacturing and production can greatly improve efficiencies, control costs, and streamline overall processes. The complex manufacturing process involves many measures and steps to ensure that what starts as a bare chassis becomes a complete automobile able to be driven out of the factory. Ensuring that all stages of assembly are completed correctly and on time is critical.
Therefore, each chassis must have a mechanism that allows tracking at any point during the manufacturing process. In addition, the chassis goes through a paint process and a high-heat oven to rapidly cure the paint before moving to the next stage. Currently, chassis are tagged with a barcode label often accompanied by a paper “traveler.” For the barcode label, physical and mechanical handling of the chassis during the manufacturing process may damage the label to the point it cannot be scanned, or the label may fall off completely. Particularly during the painting process, the label will be painted over and therefore completely unreadable. For the paper “traveler,” more often than none, they are lost along the way due to handling.
An automatic mechanism that allows a seamless and contact-less method of tracking Work-in-Process (WIP) of an automobile, including identification of the vehicle VIN number cross-referenced with build-sheets, ensures that the proper parts and even paint colors are used. Likewise, when the chassis reaches the paint shop, the mechanism must survive not only the painting process but also the baking process involving a heavy-duty oven reaching between 43°C/110°F to 60°C/140°F during a very short period of time.
The Xerafy Micro X-II series are RFID metal tags that allow the implementation of the RFID tags directly on the asset early in the production process to provide management with tracking information as specific to identify better where the product is, where this product is stored, and detect bottlenecks within the manufacturing process.
Additional benefits of applying the RFID tag at the source level are to assist in inventory control, quality, and returns and counterfeiting prevention. Many applications exist where a label cannot be mounted on a surface. The current challenge from customers is for a tag that has superior performance on metal and can survive high temperatures, pressures, and harsh environments of demanding applications.