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Hanjin Newport Co. Expedites Loading and Unloading With RFID

The Korean terminal operator is using a Mojix-based solution provided by Qbit to ensure that the automated crane is ready to meet a vehicle for unloading or loading, thereby improving efficiency.
By Claire Swedberg

Therefore, HJNC approached Qbit to obtain a better solution. Qbit was founded in 2011 as a real-time location system (RTLS) company that employs RFID technology, as well as GPS and drones, to identify the locations of things and individuals in industrial settings. The firm provides solutions in Asia, as well as the Middle East and beyond, according to ChongWoo Kim, Qbit's CEO. "So far, the STAR system is our key solution," he says, and it has been customized to meet the needs of users in a variety of industries.

The advantage of Qbit's STAR system, Kim says, is that it can achieve accurate reads at long distances. The deployment consists of STAR 3000 receivers and Mojix eNode transmitters (which act as tag exciters) installed around the area to interrogate tags. The tags respond to transmissions from the eNodes that are captured by the receiver, which, in turn, forwards the collected read data to a Mojix STAR Master Controller, linked to the software residing on HJNC's back-end server.

With the solution, which was installed in February 2014, truck drivers are applying passive EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags to the top center of their trucks' windshields. The terminal offers Smartrac DogBone RFID tags in a vending machine (also provided by Qbit), and Qbit recommends the same make and model of tags for those who acquire them on their own. However, says Doojin Park, Qbit's senior VP of professional services, a variety of other makes and models of tags are in use as well.

Each tag's ID number is linked to details about the truck company in Qbit software, which forwards data to the TOS software. The terminal's main gate has eight lanes, in which a single STAR receiver captures the ID number of each truck's RFID tag. Based on that information, the Qbit software identifies the truck company and automatically prints a paper slip informing to the driver where he should take his vehicle.

The data is also forwarded to the TOS, which sends a job assignment to the automatic crane. If the Qbit software receives an acknowledgement from the crane indicating that it will unload or load the vehicle, a green light is illuminated, signifying that the driver can proceed to the container yard. Upon approaching his appointed loading area, the driver passes through another gate (there are 21 such gates in the terminal, covered by a total of six STAR receivers).The system reads the truck tag at this location, and then alerts the crane that the vehicle has arrived at the container yard.

Since the system's installation, JoongRyun Lim, the manager of HJNC's data-processing team, reports that the read rate has been near 100 percent. The technology ensures that the cranes are used efficiently, and are not idling in areas in which they are not required, or moving more than necessary from one location to another. "It saves time and electricity," Lim explains, "leading to more cargo to handle, as well as more ships to carry them."

Accomplishing this goal was not an easy task, Kim notes. "To find the best antenna positions," he says, "we simulated the direction of trucks and tested again and again for months."

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