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Logwin Rolls Ahead With RFID

The logistics provider attaches EPC Gen 2 passive tags to the wheels it assembles and ships to its automotive customers.
By Rhea Wessel
Oct 30, 2009International logistics provider Logwin, based in Austria, uses radio frequency identification to track the assembly and shipment of wheels for its automotive customers.

Logwin employs 8,000 people around the world, focusing its business on Austria, Germany and Switzerland. For some of its customers, such as automobile manufacturers and tire wholesalers, the firm provides assembly and warehousing services. Since one company's steel rims are difficult to distinguish from those of another, Logwin faced the potential problem of mixing up customers' wheels. That's why it implemented a bar-code system to track the assembled goods in early 2007.

Logwin RFID tower and tire stack
However, Logwin faced problems with bar codes, because with abrasion, rubber tires create a form of dust that make some bar codes unreadable. What's more, workers often had to turn the wheels—which weigh approximately 16 kilograms (35 pounds)—to locate each bar code for scanning. Therefore, the company implemented an RFID system to track the wheels, says Michael Peschek, Logwin's director of operations, who described his company's efforts at the RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2009 conference, recently held near Frankfurt, Germany.

Logwin produces about 150,000 wheels annually as part of its wheel-assembly value-added services. During this year's fall and winter high season for tire sales, the company is relying solely on RFID for the first time. Logwin attaches EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tags to the wheels, then identifies them when they are stacked 10-high on pallets.

Much of the company's production each year is completed between July and January, when customers put on their winter tires for the season, and many decide at that point to replace their wheels. To meet this production demand, Logwin relies on temporary manpower to do the job.

In October 2007, Logwin began implementing RFID to address the problems it had with its bar-code system, and to make the tracking system easier for seasonal workers to utilize. The firm contacted GS1 Austria about finding a solution, and was referred to auto-ID consultants BSR Idware. BSR worked to find the most suitable RFID technology for Logwin to use, as well as the optimal place on the wheel to attach the tag, and the best location to install interrogators.

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