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Volkswagen Group's Uruguayan Importer Improves Efficiency Through RFID

The company is already using passive UHF tags to track tools, and expects sometime next year to begin tagging the Audi and Volkswagen cars it sells and maintains.
By Claire Swedberg

Identis installed a CSL CS-461 reader and antennas behind the walls of the corridor adjoining the storage room's entrance, so that the hardware would not be visible to personnel. It also provided staff members with badges containing built-in CSL Omni-ID Prox tags. Each worker's own identity was also stored in the software, along with his or her badge RFID number.

When an individual approaches the tool area, the reader captures that person's badge tag ID and unlocks a door, thereby enabling him to enter. When the employee leaves the room, the interrogator again captures the badge's ID, as well as that of each tool he is carrying, thereby creating a record that management can access at any time. If the individual is unauthorized to use the tool he is carrying, the STTS software sends an e-mail message to Julio Cesar Lestido's managers, warning them of that activity so that they can address the situation.

The software provides analytic data as well. For instance, D'Amato explains, the company can track how much time mechanics spend with specific tools, and thus how long particular repair projects took to complete. "The main benefit for the company is saving the cost of lost tools," he states. "But it also provides them with great efficiency."

Julio Cesar Lestido has more than 500 tools onsite. To date, the company has acquired 1,000 tags from Identis.

For the next phase of the deployment, D'Amato says, Lestido's workers will insert some sort of passive UHF RFID tag into a plastic holder attached to the bottom of each new vehicle's windshield. Equipped with a handheld reader, a worker could capture each tag's ID and link it to the vehicle identification number, the date and other information stored in the STTS software. Identis plans to install a reader portal at the entrance to Julio Cesar Lestido's Volkswagen service and sales facilities in Montevideo. The portal would comprise a CSL CS469 or CS461 fixed reader and approximately eight antenna arrays, D'Amato estimates. Upon arriving at the Montevideo site, a vehicle would pass through the reader portal, and the software would then be updated to indicate that the car was onsite.

When a vehicle is sold to a dealer or consumer, its tag could be read via a CSL 101 handheld, or the tag ID could be input into the Identis software, along with such sales information as the buyer's name. Each time the vehicle returned for servicing, information related to that service would be entered into the system, to be stored along with the RFID number on the vehicle's tag. In this way, the company will be better able to track how often vehicles require specific types of maintenance, as well as their performance based on that service (for example, how often they require repairs), and to offer added value to customers. Julio Cesar Lestido did not respond to requests for comment about the system.

The vehicle identification solution is expected to go live in 2015, according to D'Amato.

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