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RFID-based Automotive Network Project Achieves Its Goals

Some project partners, including Bosch, plan to take the results of the RAN project into the operational phase.
By Rhea Wessel
RFID Kanban With a Customer
As part of RAN, Bosch also expanded and upgraded an existing internal RFID-based kanban project (see Bosch Earns Fast ROI From RFID). It was originally implemented in July 2008 in Homburg, in the state of Saarland, to replenish parts used to manufacture common rail diesel fuel injectors.

The kanban application was not based on standards that would allow other automotive supply chain members to use it. As part of RAN, Bosch adapted the system for external partners, and then tested it in partnership with Opel.

"When we built the kanban application, the technology was all very new. Nobody really thought about enabling all members of the supply chain to use it," Müller recalls. "Now, as part of RAN, we have adapted the kanban application and taken part of it into operation with Opel."

For the expanded kanban application that began last year, Bosch sends pallets of containers holding common rail fuel injectors to Opel, with RFID-enabled kanban cards attached to the outer stretch-wrap.

The closed-loop application features Smartrac (formerly UPM RFID) Web passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags complying with the ISO 18000-6C standard. The kanban cards are made of paper, and an RFID tag is affixed to each card's back via an adhesive.

Bosch first interrogates the tags as they are moved via forklift through an RFID gate reader in Homburg. At various Bosch locations, in partnership with noFilis, the company is testing gate readers supplied by Impinj, Kathrein and Brooks Automation.

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