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RFID Helps Morgan Thermal Ceramics Save Labor

The company has increased efficiency at its Mexico City plant, using EPC UHF passive tags and readers to track raw materials, as well as finished insulation products, prior to shipping.
By Claire Swedberg
May 23, 2012Morgan Thermal Ceramics has installed a radio frequency identification solution to meet the needs of a growing thermal-insulation industry at its plant in Pachuca, Mexico. The firm, part of the Morgan Crucible Co., designs, manufactures and installs a variety of thermal-insulation products.

Since the RFID system's installation, the company reports that it has achieved an increase in inventory accuracy of finished goods, without requiring manual inventory checks, and that it has increased the rate at which trucks are loaded for shipping.

A metal container loaded with raw materials is tracked on its way to the production area, by means of a fixed Alien Technology reader and Intermec antennas.

The Pachuca plant, known for producing new products and innovation for the past five years, was thus determined to be the best location to test a real-time location system (RTLS), says Jose Manuel Zavala, the cofounder of Technologia y Consultoria para la Industria (TCI), an enterprise resource planning (ERP) consulting firm that provided the system's installation, as well as integration, software programming and system monitoring. Zavala served as Morgan Thermal Ceramics' consulting technical projects advisor. In addition, Mexican RFID firm HTK RFID configured the reader installation, and also provided tags and some software programming.

The thermal-insulation market has been growing as the material is being used in an ever-widening variety of markets, including aircraft, buildings and automotive, to improve energy efficiency and meet safety standards.

As a result of this growth, Zavala says, Morgan Thermal Ceramics provides an increasing number of products in a wider variety of form factors than it did just a few years ago. "Having this demand on new products increased our need for efficiency and customer service," he states, "and at the end of the day, having more market and customers, we had only two options: replicate (by building an additional facility) or improve efficiency."

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