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At Kumho Tire Factory, RFID Drives First-In, First-Out Process

The company uses a Qbit-supplied Mojix STAR system at its two Korean assembly plants to ensure that rubber material is consumed while it is most pliable and before reaching its expiration date.
By Claire Swedberg

Qbit software, residing on Kumho Tire's database, stores information linked to the RFID tags. When rubber sheets are placed in a stack, each sheet's tag ID is stored in the Qbit software, along with the rubber's manufacturing and expiration dates. Mojix eNodes power up the tag when it comes within range, and the tag, in turn, transmits its ID. The tag's signal is picked up by the antennas wired to the receiver, which then forward that data to the software, thereby indicating the rubber's location in real time.

As the sheets of rubber are moved out of the staging area and into the manufacturing area, the pile's tag is read and the software thus calculates its location. The company then knows when its rubber supply needs to be replenished, and if a stack of rubber sheets is being transported to the assembly area ahead of one created prior to that stack. In that case, an alert can be displayed in the software and an assembly manager can correct the mistake before the sheets are actually used to build a tire.

As the tires are partially assembled, they are placed on RFID-tagged carts and transported to the next work area. As the carts move to each location, the Mojix system interrogates their tags, thereby updating the software to indicate how many tires have reached that stage of the assembly process and, thus, how much more rubber material will soon be required.

Since the system's installation, Kumho Tires has reduced its expenses by not having to discard rubber due to it having expired. The firm has also improved the quality of its end products, by ensuring that rubber is used as quickly as possible, when it is at its softest and most pliable.

The company has decided to install RFID at some of its other plants, Kumho Tire's spokesperson says, or is currently in discussions to do so. "We are planning for the deployment at the factory in China in 2016," the spokesperson states.

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