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Unipac Increases Inventory Accuracy to 98 Percent via RFID
The Jacto Group-owned company adopted an Internet of Things-based platform from CIAg, utilizing UHF RFID, QR code and BLE technologies.
Feb 04, 2020—
Plastic-processing company Unipac, a subsidiary of Jacto Group—which ended 2018 with a reported net revenue of 1.5 billion Brazilian real ($356 million)—has adopted a combination of UHF RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies, together with QR codes. As a result, the company says it has achieved inventory accuracy greater than 98 percent. The Internet of Things (IoT)-based platform was developed by the Center for Innovation in Agribusiness (CIAg), which was responsible for defining the architecture, specifying features based on customer requirements, implementing and validating the solution, providing customer training and maintenance, and developing new features.
Unipac's logistics division, located in the Brazilian municipality of Pompeia, offers collapsible plastic boxes and a portfolio of electric tugs, as well as rental, customization and asset-management services. Before the RFID implementation, the company's asset-management process was manual, involving the reading of barcode labels. The new automated reading process, supported by a digital platform developed by CIAg's technology team, allows employees to efficiently and quickly manage any type of returnable packaging, the company reports.
Allan Siriani, CIAg's project leader, says the company has long sought a robust solution for the management of returnable packaging, since the alternatives available on the market did not meet all the needs of customers. Understanding the particularities and specific problems of each customer, as well as recognizing that a single technology would not be able to meet all requirements and guarantee the traceability and management of packaging, were key points in developing the solution employed at Unipac.
"Our digital platform allows the application of customizable solutions with the combination of RFID, BLE and QR code technologies, adapted to the needs of each client, ensuring the technical and economic viability of each project," Siriani says. "We believe that the platform can be used by other customers, but it was developed for Unipac, which will work on offering it to the market."
To implement the mixed-architecture IoT platform, a site survey mapped the flow and processes of the operation in order to deploy an infrastructure composed of RFID portals, BLE beacon readers and portable readers, according to the process need, with the goal of seeking a balance between cost and accuracy in obtaining data. The unit receives identifying devices—RFID tags, beacons and QR code tags—and, in a Web-based system, is initialized in its position.
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