Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

RFID Locates Press Tools at Auto Parts Factory

Voestalpine Polynorm installed RFID readers and antennas on one of its plant's cranes and tagged 8,000 press tools, enabling the company to prevent production delays.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 25, 2016

Automotive component and systems manufacturer voestalpine Polynorm B.V. has begun employing radio frequency identification readers on an overhead crane to track up to 8,000 press tools that the crane transports within its warehouse and assembly plant in Bunschoten, the Netherlands. The system ensures that the company has visibility into the location of every tool when it is needed for product manufacturing, thereby preventing production delays that could otherwise result from having to manually search for the large tools.

Voestalpine Polynorm produces auto parts for new custom car body orders, as well as replacement parts for existing vehicles. For instance, the company manufactures vehicle hoods from large sheets of metal. Up to six actions are undertaken for a single car hood, including drawing, cutting and pressing. The outer and inner portions of the hood each require five or more operations. The support parts for that hood—of which there are about six—also require large tools to press and cut them. Altogether, the factory may use 20 different tools, each weighing up to 30 tons, to make a single hood.

From left to Right: Voestalpine Polynorm's RFID team, Volker Ruitinga, Peter Altena and Bert Koelewijn, holding some of the passive UHF RFID tags used at the company's plant in the Netherlands.
In total, the company utilizes about 8,000 press tools that are transported to and from the warehouse for use during manufacturing processes. The plant operates six different assembly lines to make the products, and a press tool could be required on any of those six lines at any given time. Work is performed quickly. One customer may order a series of 100 custom-made parts for new vehicles daily, as well as 100 spare parts each month.

Storage of the large, heavy press tools is a major issue, the company reports. In addition to storing those goods, moving them from one of six production lines to another requires a great deal of logistical planning. Until recently, those presses were tracked via handwritten paper cards on which was written the most recent location where the tools were taken. This could be a time-consuming task, since a warehouse operator would need to locate the tool, ensure that it was the right one and track the item down, based on handwritten records, in the event that it was not found where expected.

Voestalpine Polynorm uses overhead lift cranes to move heavy press tools.

Login and post your comment!

Not a member?

Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!

Case Studies Features Best Practices How-Tos
Live Events Virtual Events Webinars
Simply enter a question for our experts.
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations