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RFID Produces Ripe Rewards for Tasmanian Apricot Grower
Qew Orchards, the Southern Hemisphere's largest apricot producer, is using EPC Gen 2 RFID to track increases in efficiency, as well as properly compensate its fruit pickers.
Mar 22, 2010—Qew Orchards, the largest apricot producer in the southern hemisphere, is using radio frequency identification to increase efficiency and properly compensate its workers.
Qew's trees are located on separate properties in Tasmania, Australia, and the company employs up to 150 itinerant fruit pickers each year during the harvest season. The employees are paid based on the number of crates they fill, to provide them with incentive to generate the maximum possible output.
According to Alistair Chong, a spokesperson for Qew Orchards, the paper tags were not reusable, and the system was time-consuming and inefficient. Radio frequency identification, he says, was the logical alternative. Bar-coded stickers had been trialed, but they faded in the sun by the time they were taken back to the shed and were stored in a cooler overnight, thus preventing the company from knowing who had picked a particular crate.
"RFID also seemed the most appropriate choice because of the large volume of transactions that take place in such a short space of time," Chong states. "RFID would save us time, labor and aggravation, as we would no longer have to sit and count picker tags at the end of every night."
Qew Orchards considered a number of RFID suppliers before eventually deciding on Ramp RFID Solutions, an Australian RFID software developer and systems integrator. The two companies tested the technology ahead of the rollout—specifically, the RFID tags' performance, given the density and water content of apricots.
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