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Auto Manufacturer Deploys Cyborg RFID-Reading Car, RFID Gates
The technology that Honda Manufacturing uses at its Indiana plant enables the company to track each assembled vehicle, thereby reducing labor and storage costs.
Jun 06, 2017—
The Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant in Greensburg is expecting positive results from a radio frequency identification solution that helps its personnel locate vehicles and track their progress through its assembly plant. With the system in place, the company has been able to eliminate costs associated with car location, and has also reduced dwelling times for vehicles waiting to be shipped. The system employs an RFID-reading Honda Civic, along with handheld readers and fixed reader gates around its facility.
Jason Philpot, a manager at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, described the implementation process at RFID Journal LIVE! 2017, held last month in Phoenix, Ariz. View a video of Philpot's presentation from the event, as well as the slides used during that presentation.
The plant, built for high-volume production, contains 1.3 million square feet of indoor space for vehicle assembly and sits on 1,600 acres. The company employs more than 2,400 associates who produce approximately 250,000 vehicles annually, which equates to 500 vehicles during an eight-hour shift. The facility schedules two shifts each day, so its daily yield is 1,000 cars. That large assembly volume brings challenges in managing the inventory of cars that are awaiting finishing services and then shipment to dealers. The RFID system, Philpot said, allows Honda to more efficiently locate products.
Honda's objective, when it began looking into RFID in 2015, was to automate the locating of vehicles on an individual basis, as well as en masse. So if the company wanted to find a particular car for inspection, testing, finishing or shipping, that vehicle could be found, or all cars of a certain type or assembly date could be located.
"We wanted to be able to associate them based on VIN number, vehicle type, engine type and manufacturing dates " Philpot said. The company considered GPS, as well as active and passive RFID, and found passive RFID to be the most cost-effective, he explained. The resulting solution was taken live in late 2016.
Each new vehicle is tagged with an RFID tag. The tag's data is referenced at various points throughout the manufacturing process in order to maintain visibility of location. Since the system was taken live, the company reports that it has been able to reduce costs, while also improving the overall efficiency of its inventory-management process.
The company is now planning a second phase for using RFID in Honda Manufacturing's re-work operations, by optimizing the workflow logistics at that site. An alert or e-mail can be sent if a vehicle sits at one location for a long period of time. With RFID, Philpot told attendees, "We expect to gain insight into long dwell-time processes."
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