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Italian Textile Firms Rolls Over to RFID

Griva applies an EPC RFID tag to each roll of fabric it processes, resulting in lower labor costs, increased production and a rapid ROI.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Now, instead of attaching a bar-code label onto each core, workers apply a label embedded with a passive EPC Gen 2 Alien Squiggle inlay. As each roll of fabric exits a treatment station, an Alien ALR-8800 interrogator reads the unique Electronic Product Code (EPC) encoded to its core's tag. Simet's RFID middleware removes duplicate reads and sends the tag ID number to Griva's production-tracking application, which is part of its enterprise resource-planning platform.

Griva attached bar-coded labels to the end of each core prior to the start of the treatment process.

Griva could have deployed this manufacturing tracking system with high-frequency tags and readers instead of the ultrahigh-frequency EPC tags it chose, Crocker states, since the application does not require a long read range. However, the manufacturer hopes to eventually work with its trading partners to leverage the EPCs beyond the point of manufacturing, enabling the companies to track individual rolls throughout the supply chain.

Improving the reliability of its identification system led to lower labor costs. This also allowed Griva to keep its production lines operating at top speeds more often than it could under the bar-code system, which often required workers to stop or slow production to manually read or reapply bar-code labels to fabric roll cores. According to Haraldsvik, these factors led to Griva achieving a 30 percent return on its investment.

Griva's application, Haraldsvik notes, is indicative of a growing number of RFID deployments that use EPC technology but are not driven by retailer or government mandates. "We're seeing a lot of closed-loop solutions," he says. "EPC is really starting to move out of the mandate world."

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