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RFID Helps Aerospace Factories Manage Small Parts

Supplier City Solutions' system is designed to help workers easily identify which bins require replenishing, thereby ensuring that no parts run out when needed on the production floor.
By Claire Swedberg

The system can automatically identify which lot and batch numbers of small parts or liquids were used in the manufacture of an aircraft, since it knows when the bin or container was replenished. The user can then correlate that information with the aircraft or part being built.

With the systems, SCS sells the customer the handheld reader and RFID tags, charging a monthly access fee for software. If a customer wants the technology to be integrated with its own management software, Grason says, it can buy the software for use in house as well.

Supplier City's Jim Grason
The companies currently using the RFID system have asked not to be named, Grason says. Most have been doing so for six months or less, he notes, but have thus far found that it reduced the amount of labor time workers previously spent manually checking parts levels in bins or bags. More important, however, is the prevention of any delays in manufacturing due to an out-of-stock problem with a part. Because the companies now have greater visibility into when bins need to be refilled, they have also been able to adjust the amount of parts and materials they store onsite as required for manufacturing.

In addition, the company is currently in discussions with potential customers in the health-care industry to use the RFID-enabled bins for tracking items used in patient care.

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