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RFID Platform Tracks HP Brazil's Manufacturing, Distribution

The company's cloud-based platform, Exceler8 - Innovating Industry 4.0, provides visibility into status of the desktop, laptop and tablet PCs it produces—yielding a range of benefits.
By Edson Perin
Sep 30, 2016

Hewlett-Packard (HP) Brazil has been improving its use of radio frequency identification technology on assembly lines, thanks to its accumulated learnings since the firm started putting electronic tags on its printers and accessories more than a decade ago. The results of these pioneering practices have been publicly presented within and outside Brazil, along with hardware and software developed in partnership with the FIT - Institute of Technology, in Sorocaba, São Paulo, in order to improve the company's manufacturing chain.

HP Brazil has now developed a platform—designed by business professionals, scientists and thinkers from around the world—that has its foundations in a concept called Industry 4.0, also dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Kami Saidi, the head of HP's LATAM manufacturing and supply chain operations
Known as Exceler8 - Innovating Industry 4.0 (a name that conveys the ideas of "acceleration" and "higher speed," while focusing on excellence, according to the company), the platform streamlines business operations in the area of supply chain management (SCM) in accordance with GS1's EPC RFID standards. With its footprint in Industry 4.0, the solution also follows Internet of Things practices, with data stored in the cloud.

The platform works like this: The factory receives a confirmed order for products, and the manufacturing processes for those ordered goods are then tracked via RFID, as is their delivery status. HP benefits by being able to better monitor production, and by avoiding delays in both production and delivery.

With the platform in place, HP reports, it now has fuller control of manufacturing and delivery times for items and customers, due to its use of passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags, as well as data stored in the cloud, all based on the GS1 EPC standards. This facilitates integration with other links in the chain, such as suppliers and customers.

Throughout the past decade, HP Brazil has been using RFID on its printer assembly line in Sorocaba. After that deployment, the company adopted the technology to help managed the recycling of used electronics—a project that became known as SmartWaste, and that received RFID Journal's RFID Green Award in 2012 (see Extracting New Value from Old Printers).

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