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Thai Coal Importer Weighs RFID's Benefits

SCG Logistics is using an active RFID solution to track the weight of trucks before and after they load up with coal at a port facility in Thailand.
By Claire Swedberg
For each truck that enters its facility, SCG Logistics issues a TagMaster active 2.45 GHz RFID tag that attaches to the vehicle's windshield. The tag's unique ID number is linked to data entered into SCG Logistics' back-end system, such as the license plate number. When the truck parks on one of the company's three weighbridges for its pre-load (truck weight), TagMaster RFID readers at the gate capture the tag ID number at a distance of up to 10 meters (33 feet), and sends that information, via a cabled connection, to the Web-based server hosted by Identify RFID, which integrates with the company's SAP system. Weighbridge workers then see the license number and other data on their PC screen. The truck driver hands the weighbridge staff the loading document, which the employees can compare against information on the PC. The scale measures the weight, which is linked with the RFID number and associated vehicle data in the back-end system.

When the truck returns to the weighbridge for post-load measurement, its plate number again shows up on the weighing program automatically. Weight station workers use a keypad to enter the post-load weight into the Identify RFID software, and then print out the loading document.

Approximately 200 weighing transactions take place daily per weighbridge (600 transactions facility-wide). With the RFID solution, the time needed to process operations on these weighbridges has been reduced by 50 percent, the company indicates, because its staff need not repeat the keying of the truck plate number. The system also eliminates the need to perform data entry at the end of the day—inputting details of each scale transaction such as the truck identification, hauling company and weights. Because the system reduces the time required for each truck entry and departure transaction, queues are shorter and vehicle's move through more efficiently.

Identify RFID is now working with a weighbridge manufacturer to integrate the RFID solution with scale hardware, in order to develop a hands-free weighing system—that is, one that would not require employees to manually enter the weight. In this way, the weight could be measured and linked to the ID number on the vehicle's RFID tag, and all of that data could automatically be sent to the back-end server. "We aim to reduce the number of staff working at the weighbridge station," Ngamsukkasamesri states. "With the new system, we can ensure that the truck driver will be able to do the weighing by himself, with less monitoring."

USER COMMENTS

Tal Eizenberg 2010-03-14 06:07:30 AM
Why Active Thanks for an excellent story Claire. One detail is confusing though: Why did the customer chose to use an Active RFID system with 30ft range? You can find Passive RFID Gen 2 tags that would deliver the same performance and with a weight station that forces the truck to stand in a very specific location, passive could have been used in a reliable way. I recently read that Precyse Technologies introduced an Active solution that integrates the tag with electronic weights so that everything is automatically transmitted. I know this is typically being used for KanBan part-bin refurbishment on production lines but maybe its relevant here as well. These tags has 1 mile of range so at least the cost of readers is reduced. Just a thought… Tal.

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