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RFID Drives Efficiency for Kia Vehicle Finishing and Shipment

U.K. logistics provider Paragon Automotive is using passive UHF RFID tags to track the receipt, finishing, storage and shipment of cars at its workshops and outdoor storage compound.
By Claire Swedberg

Several years back, Paragon considered using active RFID tags at some of its sites because of the technology's inherent long read range, which could provide real-time location capability throughout the facility. However, Higgins says, applying an active tag to every vehicle would simply be too expensive to provide a return on investment. In February 2015, with the U.K. automotive industry booming, the company began investigating the use of passive UHF RFID tags. "We found ourselves again looking for better ways to control and monitor stock," he states.

The Kia site was in development at the time, and Paragon signed a 10-year contract for servicing the manufacturer's vehicles at that site, beginning in December 2015. This, Higgins says, made it a good location to launch the RFID system.

Paragon affixes a Smartrac DogBone tag to the interior of each vehicle's rear driver's-side window and links the tag's encoded ID number to the car's VIN.
After the Kia vehicles are offloaded from a ship, Paragon affixes a Smartrac DogBone tag to the interior of the vehicle's rear driver's-side window, linking the tag's encoded ID number to the VIN. Operators then drive the cars into the Kia compound, where Paragon has installed about two dozen Zebra Technologies (Motorola Solutions) FX series readers throughout the site. RFID readers at the gate register each car's arrival by capturing its unique tag ID number, and forward the data to Kia's IT platform to inform the automaker that the vehicle is in stock. That information is then made available to dealers via Kia's IT platform, so they can order new cars.

Paragon designed the Evolution software to collect the RFID tag read data and forward it to Kia's IT platform and Paragon's management system, using software from Telerik for mobile and Web-based data display.

At the same time that the collected read data is sent to Kia, the Evolution software identifies the vehicle, determines the best location for it and displays that information on an automated message board, thereby instructing the driver where to deliver the car inside the outdoor storage compound. Readers mounted at key points, such as storage area entrances and choke points, enable the software to determine the general location at which a given vehicle is parked.

In addition, readers are located at the entrances to the workshop and pre-delivery inspection (PDI) areas. Thus, when a vehicle enters those areas, the system knows what finishing work is being provided, and that information is stored in the software to indicate when a car is ready to be shipped to a customer.

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