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Grupo Vidrala Tracks Bottles From Production to Shipment

The Spanish glass manufacturer is using a system from JSV Infomatica y Comunicaciones to improve efficiency and reduce errors as pallets of product move though its warehouse and on to customers.
By Claire Swedberg
Each forklift is equipped with an Intermec IV7 RFID reader and two reader antennnas that capture the ID number of the RFID label attached to the pallet the vehicle is carrying. The interrogator then forwards the collected IDs to Vidrala's back-end software, via a Wi-Fi connection. If such a connection is not possible at that time, the information is stored until a connection is detected. The JSV software (which interprets data from each RFID tag read) is integrated with the company's warehouse-management system. The software sends data to the forklift's vehicle-mounted Intermec CV30 computer terminal, which displays instructions indicating where the pallet should be placed. If the driver determines that the pallet needs to be moved to a different spot, he or she can input that information via the CV30's keypad. The new location is transmitted to JSV software, and then to the WMS.

Upon receiving an order for glassware stored on a particular pallet, the office staff can instruct a forklift driver to retrieve that pallet, by sending the instructions and the pallet's location to the CV30 computer onboard that individual's vehicle.

The warehouse staff uses an Intermec CN3 handheld computer with an IP30 reader to read the bar codes on the RFID labels in the event that a new label needs to be attached to a pallet. The handheld's RFID interrogator is also utilized if a problem is found on a pallet. If, for example, a particular bottle is determined to have a flaw, the entire pallet is removed from the warehouse or production area, and is relocated to an area at which any flawed items can be replaced, after which a new label is attached to the pallet and the handheld is used to enter that new tag into the system.

After completing installation at the Crisnova plant, as well as a plant in Aiala, Spain, and one in Gallo, Portugal, Vidrala plans to install the RFID technology in Barcelona by the end of this year, followed by the Belgian and Italian factories in 2012.

"We have seen improvement in many areas," Delicado states, "but the most important are traceability of every pallet, and no errors in movements and shipping." The company can more quickly respond to a customer's order, he adds, by directing the pickup of pallets with the RFID system.

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