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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
Implementing RAN Results
With the RAN project completed, Bosch is now turning its attention to the details of single-product tagging within a production environment, based on the results of its RAN test case. Before individual parts can be tracked throughout production, Müller says, supply chain participants will need to build up their RFID infrastructure and also resolve some technical problems, including radio interference within a metal environment.

According to Müller, RAN was helpful in resolving some of the barriers making it difficult to operate RFID applications across businesses, such as deciding on a unique numbering system and determining how to share data from a platform. In addition to carrying out its RAN projects, Bosch also expanded its IT capacity; it is now capable of processing far more data.

"We had to change our IT infrastructure at Bosch to use RFID. It was a really important part of our work to roll out RFID," Müller explains. "If an employee is moving an RFID-tagged pallet through a gate, he must find out quickly if the tag was read properly. We had to increase the IT response time significantly."

Bosch now has an RFID read-response time of approximately two seconds, Müller says, including the processing time in the back-end systems. "It's much faster now," he reports, "and people are grateful and excited about this way of transmitting and receiving information, including information about stock levels."

Although the original RAN project is officially over, Müller stresses that there is still much work to be done. What's more, he says, prices for hardware and software must come down before RFID can be used widely across industries.

"Just imagine that for certain UHF RFID equipment, we now pay only a third of what we used to pay when we started the project," Müller adds.

Videos about the RAN project (in German only) can be viewed here.

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