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Log House Maker Using RFID to Track Material

Honkarakenne, a Finnish firm that makes log houses that are sold throughout the world, is using passive RFID to manage materials and production processes. Logs receive a passive RFID tag that is encoded with order and processing instructions. The system helps ensure logs are properly processed, packaged and shipped.
Oct 16, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

October 16, 2008—Paper RFID labels are helping Finnish firm Honkarakenne build log homes. The €93 million maker of log homes that are sold in 40 countries, including the U.S. and Japan, puts passive RFID smart labels on logs to guide them through production and inspection processes. The firm uses approximately 2,000 RFID tags per day.

The tags, which use Gen2-standard passive inlays from UPM Raflatac, are encoded with milling instructions specific to the house they will be used in. It takes approximately 1,000 logs to complete each home.

Fixed-position readers on the production line identify the logs and direct tooling machines to perform the required operations. Logs are also identified before undergoing a machine vision inspection system, and finally when they are packed into orders to ensure builders get correct and complete materials. Finland-based integration firm Finn-ID provided the system software.

Reijo Virtanen, vice president of production at Honkarakenne, told RFID Update that improved reliability is the best part of the system. The company used to identify logs by bar code, but the process was slower because it often required manual scanning. The read accuracy of RFID, and the fact that no direct line of site is required between tag and reader, have enabled Honkarakenne to complete production processes faster.

Virtanen did not disclose information about ROI or labor savings. In its announcement of the project, UPM Raflatac said systems such as this one can reduce material waste and improve supply chain speed.
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