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Omni-ID's View 10 Tag Aims to Replace Paperwork at Detroit Diesel, Other Factories

The View 10 includes passive and active RFID, Wi-Fi and IR technologies, a 10.1-inch screen and enough memory to store and display more than 160 pages of info that workers can view automatically at their assembly stations.
By Claire Swedberg

Encased in rugged plastic, the View 10 is intended to be much tougher than a tablet—with a Wi-Fi transmitter to send and receive location or other data via a user's Wi-Fi network. At Detroit Diesel, an EPC Gen 2 RFID reader is installed at each workstation that transmits a unique ID number to the tag. Nabrotzky says any UHF EPC RFID reader can operate with the View 10. The tag then forwards that data to the ProVIEW software, residing on Detroit Diesel's server, which determines—based on the station ID associated with that particular reader, as well as the engine's tag ID—what page of instructions will be needed, and automatically displays that information on the tag screen. At the same time, the software stores the tag's location data, based on the location of the reader that interrogated that tag. If the employee is wearing a badge containing an EPC Gen 2 RFID tag, the reader could also send the badge's ID to the ProVIEW software.

This solution could also utilize IR emitters instead of EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID readers to accomplish the same process of location identification and the opening of an appropriate text page for each station, Nabrotzky says. The View 10 includes a 38 kHz IR receiver designed for long-burst codes, he adds, and is adaptable to other IR frequencies. Omni-ID will supply a custom IR emitter for initial installations. However, he notes, the company can configure the View 10 for other IR emitters, as demand requires.

If an operator experiences a problem or has a request while working on a tagged item, such as "I need more blue paint" or "I need welding rods," he or she could press one of the five buttons built into the View 10's plastic case, each of which is linked to a specific request based on that station's instruction. Once a button is pressed, the ProVIEW software can then forward an alert to the appropriate individual to replenish that operator's materials. The View 10 can also display alerts to the assembly workers. For example, if the item being manufactured ends up at the wrong station—for instance, if it is delivered to a painting area before assembly is complete—an alert would be displayed on the tag's screen.

Once the item is assembled, it can be removed and reused on another product, while a history of the assembly, along with the operators who worked on it, is stored in the ProVIEW software.

If a user opted against employing the Wi-Fi network at its facility, it could instead rely on the View 10's active 433 MHz RFID tag, with 433 MHz readers transmitting the tag's location or other data to the back-end server, without overloading the Wi-Fi network.

There are several advantages that the View 10 offers over a simple tablet, Nabrotzky reports. Not only is it more rugged than a tablet, but it provides location-based data, which a tablet would not be able to do unless the user had also installed specific indoor-positioning software. The View 10 is more expensive than a basic tablet, he adds, but Omni-ID has calculated that companies like Detroit Diesel could expect a return on investment within nine to 14 months, based on the elimination of paper costs alone. In addition, it provides further benefit by saving labor time and storing data regarding each assembly.

The View 10 tag is a candidate for the Best in Show category of the 2014 RFID Journal Awards, which will take place at this week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held on Apr. 8-10, in Orlando, Fla. The company will demonstrate the technology at the event, in its booth (436). What's more, Detroit Diesel will discuss its experiences with the technology at the conference, during a breakout session.

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