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RFID Locates Press Tools at Auto Parts Factory
Voestalpine Polynorm installed RFID readers and antennas on one of its plant's cranes and tagged 8,000 press tools, enabling the company to prevent production delays.
Mar 25, 2016—
Automotive component and systems manufacturer voestalpine Polynorm B.V. has begun employing radio frequency identification readers on an overhead crane to track up to 8,000 press tools that the crane transports within its warehouse and assembly plant in Bunschoten, the Netherlands. The system ensures that the company has visibility into the location of every tool when it is needed for product manufacturing, thereby preventing production delays that could otherwise result from having to manually search for the large tools.
Voestalpine Polynorm produces auto parts for new custom car body orders, as well as replacement parts for existing vehicles. For instance, the company manufactures vehicle hoods from large sheets of metal. Up to six actions are undertaken for a single car hood, including drawing, cutting and pressing. The outer and inner portions of the hood each require five or more operations. The support parts for that hood—of which there are about six—also require large tools to press and cut them. Altogether, the factory may use 20 different tools, each weighing up to 30 tons, to make a single hood.
Storage of the large, heavy press tools is a major issue, the company reports. In addition to storing those goods, moving them from one of six production lines to another requires a great deal of logistical planning. Until recently, those presses were tracked via handwritten paper cards on which was written the most recent location where the tools were taken. This could be a time-consuming task, since a warehouse operator would need to locate the tool, ensure that it was the right one and track the item down, based on handwritten records, in the event that it was not found where expected.
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