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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
The company sought a solution that would provide the data necessary to track inventory levels of the variety of products being made, Zavala says, as well as ensure on-time delivery to all of its clients—some of whom had critical time constraints of their own. For example, construction products must arrive to a construction site within a set schedule. "Any mistake has an impact on our customer," he explains. "Shipping wrong product to a construction site could be devastating for a customer relationship."

To achieve 100 percent on-time capability, Morgan Thermal Ceramics wanted to be able to know which products had been manufactured and which had been shipped, in order to ensure that finished products never ran out, or were stockpiled unnecessarily.

A UPM RFID (Smartrac) ShortDipole UHF EPC Gen 2 passive tag is attached to each box in which a roll of insulation is packed.

"Before we used RFID, the plant was efficient enough," Zavala says. However, he notes, many hours of labor were required to ensure that inventory was accurate, and that shipments were completed on time and accurately. For instance, staff members needed to manually walk through the vast facility, then create reports regarding which raw materials had been consumed, and which finished products were awaiting shipment.

Using RFID, Zavala says, would eliminate the need to scan a bar code or read a label visually, and the RFID data could be stored in the company's software.

Morgan Thermal Ceramics installed Alien Technology fixed readers and Intermec RFID antennas—one reader to track metal containers filled with raw materials being transported to the production area, as well as two fixed interrogators and one handheld to read boxes of finished goods on pallets before they are stored within the warehouse prior to shipping. The company also installed readers on three forklifts, with touch screens to track the storing and loading of products.

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