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Hong Kong Electroplating Company Speeds Up Production With RFID

Jing Mei Industrial is using passive UHF tags and readers to better track workflow.
By Claire Swedberg

First, when an item is placed on the carrier rack, its serial number and description are input into the system, via either a PC or a handheld computer. At the same time, a Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) CS203 fixed reader with an integrated antenna, mounted above the production line, reads that rack's tag ID number. The tag and item data are then forwarded by the PCCW Solutions software residing on the company's server, via its local area network.

Next, the carrier bar automatically moves the rack to the electrolyte tank, into which the carrier rack and attached item are immersed. After the plating process is completed, the product is removed from the rack and a second CS203 reader, mounted above the production line, reads the tag ID once more, forwarding that data to software that records the time at which the process was finished. The product then proceeds to the quality-control area for inspection before the parts are moved into the warehouse.

PCCW Solutions' Jacky Ting
With this system in place, management has real-time knowledge of what parts are on the production line, how long they remained on that line (and thus in the electrolyte tank) and when they left. As a result, Chow reports, the technology has eliminated the need to manually input data, which had the potential for causing errors. What's more, she adds, the system makes production output and quality issues more visible to line duty supervisors, as well as to management.

JMI uses the RFID system to provide information regarding any parts that fail the quality-control inspection, so that it can correct production issues in real time before they can grow worse. It also utilizes the data for the purpose of business analytics, to better understand the kinds of conditions that generally lead to improperly plated products, or when errors most often occur.

In the future, the company intends to install the RFID technology at more of its production lines, to report work-in-progress automatically and improve process monitoring at the point of production.

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