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YFY Pilots RFID Inventory System

Yuen Foong Yu Paper Manufacturing Co., the largest paper producer in Greater China, is launching a pilot that will use RFID to track boxes internally.
By Bob Violino
Apr 20, 2003April 21, 2003 - Taiwan’s Yuen Foong Yu Paper Manufacturing Co. plans to launch a pilot later this year that uses radio frequency identification to track its paper products internally. The company may begin putting RFID tags in its packaging products for customers to use beginning in 2006.

"We are setting up an RFID in-house tracking system for our boxes/packaging unit," says Shir Fang, YFY's executive director. "The RFID tags will be embedded into the packing boxes. Once the system is fully operational and functioning smoothly at our Taiwanese facility then we can transfer the technology to our Mainland Chinese operations."
Eventually tags will be inside

YFY is the largest paper manufacturer in Greater China, which includes Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. The company has 10 manufacturing plants throughout Taiwan, plus facilities in Indonesia, Mainland China, and Thailand. The company could drive adoption of RFID in that region of the world.

The pilot will focus on inventory control. The company plans to use RFID tags from Alien Technology. YFY can choose from a number of companies that make readers based on the Auto-ID Center's UHF specification, including Tyco (see Tyco to Mass-Produce RFID Readers).

"We can go with Alien’s readers, of course, as well as readers from several Japanese vendors," says Fang. He declined to elaborate on which vendor YFY will use when they reach the fully implemented and operational stage of the RFID project, saying that the issue is still sensitive.

"A trial system will first be installed in order to study the effectiveness of a RFID inventory control system," says Fang. "This is scheduled to be completed sometime this year. At this stage, we are not considering tracking individual boxes."

YFY is interested in extending RFID technology to open-loop systems, in which tags that it puts in its boxes are used to track goods as they are shipped from one company to the next. But Fang believes that that kind of application is still a couple of years away.

"Some of our customers have expressed interest in adopting RFID technology," he says. "They are looking at a 2005 or 2006 time frame though. Given that, we are looking to implement an open loop RFID system around 2006."

Though the use of RFID is growing quickly in Asia, YFY is one of the first companies to adopt technology based on the Auto-ID Center's Electronic Product Code specification. YFY is a sponsor of the center and had cost in mind when it chose its tag supplier. "We approached Alien for their technology," Fang says. "Our goal is to have a cost effective tag source." -- By Mark Carroll

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