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Stanley Black & Decker Boosts Efficiency Via RFID

An active RFID system from AeroScout has improved product throughput and labor efficiency, while reducing the quantity of inventory stored onsite for the replenishment of assembly lines at a manufacturing plant in Reynosa, Mexico.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 06, 2014

AeroScout Industrial, a provider of active radio frequency identification solutions, has installed an "Internet of Everything" system at a power tools plant owned by its parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, located in Reynosa, Mexico. The solution has enabled the firm to improve product throughput and labor efficiency, and to reduce the quantity of inventory stored onsite for assembly-line replenishment.

Thanks to the W-Fi-based active RFID technology, plant floor supervisors and facility managers now know, in real time, the throughput of each of five assembly lines that produce DeWalt power tools. The appropriate personnel or management can also receive alerts via SMS text message or e-mail in the event of any problems on the line, such as a need to replenish materials, a failed inspection of a finished product, or a mechanical error.

The RFID system enables plant floor supervisors and facility managers to know, in real time, the throughput of each of five assembly lines making DeWalt power tools.
AeroScout Industrial has dubbed the solution—which includes its MobileView software, AeroScout tags and Cisco Wi-Fi nodes—the Connected Factory. According to Janet Chaffin, AeroScout Industrial's president, the company intends not only to expand the way in which the technology is being used at the Reynosa plant, but also to sell similar solutions to other businesses. This "Internet of Everything" solution is different from AeroScout's basic real-time location solution (RTLS), Chaffin explains, because it expands on simple location-based data.

Stanley Black & Decker's Reynosa plant manufactures routers, planers, cordless drills, floodlights, screwdrivers and other power tools under the DeWalt brand, as well as numerous other products and professional tool brands. More than a million of these power tools are manufactured at the 500,000-square-foot facility annually. The site's management began working with AeroScout Industrial in 2013 to develop a system for inventory control and replenishment. The factory required an automated system to ensure that materials reached the assembly line as needed, and that excess inventory did not need to be stocked, in order to ensure that no out-of-stocks occurred, says Patrick Gilbert, AeroScout Industrial's director of product marketing.

"In the beginning, we weren't really sure what this technology could do for us, [but] it was highly recommended by our CIO [of industrial and automotive repair (IAR)], Gary Frederick," says Nick DeSimone, Stanley Black & Decker's VP of operations for DeWalt professional power tools (PPT). However, he says, "As we learned about and begun to understand the technology, and the ease of use [and] adaptability to our existing infrastructure, the application became apparent."

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