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RFID Equipment Manufacturer Uses RFID in Its Own HQ

ITEC puts its wireless tracking solution to the test at its offices and factory in Japan, tagging components, tools, paperwork and vehicles, as well as providing RFID-enabled badges for employees and visitors.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 19, 2008ITEC, an electronics manufacturing services provider for the RFID and wireless communications industry, is putting its own RFID solution to use at its Nagano manufacturing plant. There, the company is employing it to identify components as they arrive at the manufacturing site for assembly, as well as to track the locations of staff members, visitors, tools and company cars.

The system, known as I'm Here Model Factory 1.0, features active RFID tags and interrogators engineered by RF Code and manufactured by ITEC, which developed some of the application's software. Although RF Code tags and readers operate at 433 MHz in the United States and Europe, those ITEC is utilizing at its factory operate in the 303 MHz band, in order to comply with Japanese RF regulations, which have set aside 433 MHz for other uses, such as amateur radio.

Roberta Ohno
ITEC's internal deployment is intended to provide the company with first-hand confirmation that its I'm Here products can produce useful component- and staff-tracking data. Other goals include the ability to know the locations of assets and personnel in real time, and to obtain business analytics in order to gauge trends on the plant floor. The installation began in September 2008 and was completed in approximately three weeks, according to ITEC's business development manager, Roberta Ohno.

The RFID tags, which measure about 2 inches by 1 inch, can either be attached to an asset or plastic file cover to track paperwork, or pinned to a user's clothing. Each tag, encoded with a unique ID number, employs a proprietary air-interface protocol to communicate with the readers.

Prior to implementing the I'm Here system at its corporate headquarters, ITEC utilized a paper-based system to identify incoming components as shipments were received from third-party suppliers, as well as to verify that its workers had inspected those components. Plant employees then assembled the parts into a variety of electronic products, such as RFID, wireless tour guide, access control and restaurant paging devices.

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