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Paper Mill Optimizes Manufacturing and Stock Control

By deploying an RFID system from iTag, a papermaking firm has reduced the need for manual operations and has sped up its processes.
By Edson Perin
Aug 16, 2019

The need to improve inventory visibility and thereby speed up control to favor manufacturing planning were key points for a Brazilian papermaking company that has asked not to be identified, which led it to invest in a radio frequency identification system from iTag. Using tags from iTag and readers from Acura, the solution brought improvements to the company's processes and planning.

Prior to the RFID deployment, control was manual and depended on several workers performing a series of calculations regarding the quantities produced for each paper type, including different weights and sizes, as well as machine efficiency and the specific shift and operator. "We had no estimate of demand for our products, such as surveying our customers' orders by paper type, weight and quality," says an executive from the mill, "so there was no possibility of reducing costs through more efficient manufacturing."

An RFID portal identifies paper coils.
The company's goal is to produce only what is in demand in the market, based on consumption statistics. "We are currently leveraging our internal and external controls through BI [business intelligence] integrations through the RFID solution," the representative explains, "which enables extensive data collection and support that ensures cost savings and agility in all processes."

With the RFID system in place, the company has come to know precisely what is in stock and available for sale at any given moment. "In many cases," the representative says, "this information depended on checks by a knowledgeable employee in the yard to count the coils. Such a survey could take four to five hours to provide inventory closure."

The difficulty involved in obtaining information about stocked items can result in chain impacts, such as trouble scheduling the manufacturing of new paper rolls. With the RFID process, the company can monitor the day on a which a particular coil was made, who the machine operator was, the type of paper used, its weight and other variables. All of this information is now stored on smart tags.


Paul Drolshagen 2019-09-11 01:44:00 AM
RFID, as the name suggests is rather an identification than a localization technology. One would only know where an item is/was when its tag is interrogated/has passed a read point. There is no information where exactly an item is located in a warehouse. Here a 3D inventory tracking system for lift trucks can help. For every known item on the forks or in the clamps the system, in the moment the item is put down, measures and saves the x,y,z coordinates of the storing place. When the item is to be retrieved truck drivers would be guided to the requested item and the system would control the pickup of the correct item and warn a driver in case a deviating item is loaded. The system requires to have each new item introduced at first pickup. Here RFID may help. However, the system could collect the ID of a new item from the production machine. There are two more advantages in addition to error warning at pickup: one would know where precisely everything is located and there would be no recurring costs for RFID tags.

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