Trakya Döküm tracks its foundry moulds through the manufacturing process with built-in Xerafy RFID tags to capture data for its SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) system.
Trakya Döküm is a world-class ISO/TS 16949 certified Disamatic foundry. It produces cast and machined parts in all grades of ductile, grey and malleable irons destined for the automotive, white goods, construction and other industries.
It is the second-largest foundry in Turkey, manufacturing 80,000 different product lines. Trakya Döküm lacked a real-time overview of manufacturing along its production line. This led to inefficient under- or overproduction, poor inventory control, errors and duplication of work. It decided that the most effective way to track production was to insert RFID tags into its moulds and scan these via RFID readers as they are used during the manufacturing process. Having also trialled another RFID solution, Trakya Döküm chose Zebra Technologies’ RFID readers due to their price–performance ratio when compared with other UHF RFID readers on the market. It worked with Zebra Technologies’ partner EHV IT CO on the deployment. EHV IT CO was one of the first RFID System Integrators in Turkey.
The foundry has a very complex manufacturing process, with over 2,000 moulds and 80,000 product lines. Manufacturing operators had been manually entering the number of the mould being used in the DISA Complete Foundry Machine into the SAP MII system. With the number of moulds, variables to the products per mould and machines currently in use at the foundry, this, inevitably, resulted in occasional inputting errors and subsequent manufacturing inaccuracies.
Trakya Döküm decided to deploy an RFID Solution from Zebra Technologies. Installation of the RFID readers and antennas took just one day. EHV IT CO also provided a day’s intensive training for users. Following a rigorous testing phase, the RFID solution went live. EHV IT CO provides ongoing support and assistance. Applying RFID tags to the moulds was an interesting challenge in this project. Trakya Döküm wanted to embed the tags directly into its moulds. However, the embedding process would destroy most RFID tags.
Excellent RFID readability
Real-time accurate production overview
Improved manufacturing planning
Greater inventory control
Increased staff productivity
"We currently have six moulding lines. We can manufacture the same products for days at a time on any one line. Or sometimes two, three or four different products can be produced on a line in one day. It’s complex and constantly changing. RFID is the only really effective way we have found of monitoring production. We have eliminated inputting inaccuracies and reduced manual data input, so staff can be more productive and accountable. We can also manage our inventory more efficiently. And we know the solution is scalable as our business grows. All this cuts costs." - Deniz Okuyan, Procurement Manager and RFID Project Lead.
Trakya Döküm selected Xerafy Pico RFID tags, which were engineered specifically for embedding and use in industrial environments. The tags are 24.2mm x 6.2mm in size and weigh just 3.7g. Each tag has its own EPC number and the EPC is matched with the mould number, which is combined with the EPC number of the tag in the SAP database.
Three to five moulds can be tagged daily. This is a challenge in itself as, although often only 100cm x 70cm in size, the moulds can weigh between 100kg and 300kg each. The tags have to be inserted into the mould. A 23mm diameter drill piece is used to drill a 7mm deep hole. The tag is hammered into the hole and the surface is then covered with a metal adhesive. The Pico tags are made from nylon polymer and certified to the MIL-STD-810F standard for vibration resistance, so they can withstand the embedding process. The tags need to be embedded near the top of the mould to ensure the tag can be easily read, but safely implanted in the mould so they cannot fall out or be removed. Secondly, the tagged moulds are utilised in the six DISA Complete Foundry Machines at Trakya Döküm’s production plant. The fixed RFID readers are installed on the top of the machines and enclosed in a special case for protection. Antennas, 6-9 metres long, extend from the RFID readers to the glass cabinets where production occurs. The glass cabinets allow workers to monitor the moulds during the process, as sand is poured between the male and female moulds. The sand does not penetrate the Pico tags and interfere with performance because the have an IP68 rating and are completely sealed against dust. The antennas, which are carefully positioned to be never further than two metres from any mould, read the tags embedded in the moulds during the moulding procedure. Depending on the products that are to be manufactured, sometimes just the male or female mould is tagged; in other cases both moulds are tagged and data is received from both.
Finally, the data captured as the mould passes through the RFID reader is automatically updated onto Trakya Döküm’s SAP MII system. The tag operation is completed in .NET and then also passed on to the SAP ERP via RFC. In this way all parts of the business have a real-time manufacturing overview at all times. The MC3190-Z RFID Handheld Readers are used for the scanning of tags when they are first attached to the mould, for the initial upload of their ID to the database, before the moulds are used on the production line. The handheld readers also allow the flexibility for production line workers to scan and upload the latest data to the Tag ID during the manufacturing process, when the material and composition of the manufactured product in the mould changes.