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Ameya Logistics Uses RFID to Add Efficiency, Value to Its Freight Yard

The Indian company has installed a system that utilizes EPC Gen 2 tags and readers to capture and store data about the location of each container stored at its facility near Mumbai.
By Claire Swedberg
Once in the yard, the container is transported to an open space by one of Ameya Logistics' nine mobile cranes, known as reach stackers. Each stacker is equipped with a C&B Electronics device that incorporates an RFID reader, a GPS unit and a GPRS radio. The reader's antenna is installed to the underside of the boom that lifts the container, in order to capture the tag's unique ID number, and the GPS unit ascertains that container's longitude and latitude coordinates. All of this data is then sent via GPRS cellular transmission to the back-end Hawk software. The reader continues to interrogate the tag as the stacker moves the container, until that container is deposited within a specific area of the yard, at which time the reach stacker drives away and thus no longer reads the tag. The software then calculates the exact time at which the tag ceased to be read, and links that time with the location, within one meter, based on GPS coordinates, after which the tag is not read again until the container is moved once more with a reach stacker.

"This gives 100 percent coverage," Jumde says, "since each and every movement is recorded in the system."

Each reach stacker is equipped with an RFID reader and a GPS unit, so that Ameya Logistics can identify each container and its location.

There are two different types of software that Ameya Logistics uses for managing all yard operations, Jumde says. "One is the core ERP [enterprise resource planning system], which was already operational," he states. "The other is the Hawk software system specifically developed by C&B for this RFID-based container-tracking and yard-planning solution." Once the tag ID has been read, he explains, the Hawk software "fetches all other required data for that container from the ERP." The Hawk software not only provides real-time container-location data, but also enables data analytics about the movements of containers, as well as those of the reach stacker itself, which provides the company with information regarding the efficiency of the yard and its staff.

The Hawk system accomplishes two tasks, according to Nitin Sirohi, C&B Electronics' technology director. "It provides real-time container-location interfaces on mobile, Web and SMS," Sirohi says, "and second, it applies data analytics to provide meaningful real-time yard-operations-related information as various reports on a very attractive dashboard."

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