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RFID Has Good Chemistry for Polymer Management

Polish chemical company Grupa Azoty is planning its deployment options after piloting UHF RFID technology from ProxiGroup to manage the status and locations of its bagged products as they are packaged and then transported into zones.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 07, 2020

Polish chemical company Grupa Azoty has completed an RFID technology pilot intended to determine if its bagged products could be tracked as they are produced, stored and shipped to customers. The solution, provided by ProxiGroup, detected the locations of packages according to zones, then helped workers view those locations when collecting products for shipping, says Maciej Kolinski, Grupa Azoty's product manager.

That could provide improved operational efficiency at production sites, Kolinski explains, while reducing the risk of shipping errors. With the deployment, passive UHF RFID tags on large aluminum-packaged bags of chemicals were automatically detected by fixed readers as the palletized bags entered and left multiple zones within a warehouse. The company is now planning its strategy regarding a permanent rollout that could include the entire warehouse, as well as up to a dozen other warehouses on the company's Tarnów site or at other locations.

Grupa Azoty, one of the country's largest companies, is located in the Mościce district of Tarnów, in southeastern Poland. The company was established in 1927, during the Second Polish Republic, at which time it was considered among Europe's most modern factories. These days, Grupa Azoty is the largest chemical company in Poland and a producer of fertilizers, plastics, chemicals and pigments. The firm produces approximately 30 different qualities of polymer polyamide 6 at two plants in Tarnów. The products are packaged and labelled, then are either shipped to customers, placed in a staging area for future shipments or stored in one of the warehouses onsite.

"Before the pilot," Kolinski says, "we didn't have anything like RFID, so we had to do everything manually." Tracking goods thus meant recording production on pen or paper, or manually inputting that data, as well as recording the location of each finished item. "It's really challenging to manage all these products in seven warehouses," he states.

The pilot was intended to introduce a system that could automatically identify goods within a specific warehouse and zone. The company began working with ProxiGroup to create a solution. "It was important that our software accomplished zone-level prediction modeling," says Curtis Shull, ProxiGroup's CEO, so the company designed its ProxiTrak software to offer a predictive model so that Grupa Azoty could forecast RFID coverage performance and "outputs for hypothesis tests during the pilot."

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