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RFID Brings Visibility to LCD Flat Display Manufacturer

Innolux is using passive UHF RFID tags embedded in the ground, as well as attached to containers, pallets and forklifts, to make sure that the correct goods and materials are being received and shipped out.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 31, 2016

LCD flat screen manufacturing company Innolux has installed a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID system to track the arrivals and departures of vehicles and palletized goods at one of its plants in Taiwan. Since the solution was installed in June of this year, the company reports that it has boosted efficiency and reduced the incidence of errors that previously resulted from trucks going to the wrong dock door, or from goods being difficult to locate.

Innolux next plans to install the same system at its factories in China. The implementation consists of Alien Technology readers and UHF RFID tags, provided by EPC Solutions Taiwan. The tags—which were installed in the ground, as well as on forklifts, metal and plastic pallets, and shipping containers—were made by EPC Solutions using Alien Higgs 3 RFID chips. Innolux employs its own software to manage the collected RFID read data.

Two Alien RFID readers were installed at each dock door: one mounted to the ceiling above the loading platform (to capture the ID numbers of the tags embedded in the ground and attached to shipping containers) and the other mounted to the side of the doorway (to capture the IDs of tags attached to forklifts and pallets).
"This is [our] first warehouse shipping-management system," says Jacky Chung, Innolux's manager, "with the most advanced RFID technology installed in the company."

Established in 2003, Innolux claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of thin-film transistor (TFT) and LCD displays. Its customers include many leading information technology and consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, LG, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics and Sony.

Innolux has 14 plants in Taiwan, as well as several in China, and manufactures a range of panels and touch-control screens for consumer electronics products, such as televisions, desktop monitors, tablets and a variety of other touchscreen devices. Its operations are complex, the company reports. Some components are partially built at one facility, then are moved to one or more others for additional assembly prior to being shipped to customers. For that reason, trucks come and go from each plant to deliver materials, as well as partially assembled products, and pick up partially assembled or finished goods for customers. Managing trucks' movements, as well as ensuring that palletized goods are placed on the correct truck, has been a challenging task. The company attempted to use active RFID tags, but found that the technology did not work. The problem was that RF signals transmitted by the tags spilled from one dock door to the next, and the system was unable to discern the specific dock door at which a particular truck or pallet was located.

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