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Metal Fastener Company Improves Production With RFID
Nedschroef, a Dutch manufacturer of metal fasteners for the automobile industry, tracks information regarding 4,500 metal containers filled with as many as 100,000 nuts.
As the full container is being weighed in the loading station, an Intermec IF61 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) reader equipped with two different antennas reads both RFID tags . The system collects the tare weight and the production order information from the tags, forwards that information, along with the full container's weight, to the ERP and warehouse-management systems, and then calculates how many nuts are in the container.
In the event that an error is detected—for instance, if a tag cannot be read, or if the container is deemed too heavy—the automated rack system moves the container to the side on a belt, where an employee can then investigate the problem. Once all data has been collected and calculated, and after an approval for storage has been received from the automated rack system, the containers are automatically moved and stored, to await shipment. The company's picking and shipping processes currently do not utilize RFID.
Nedschroef chose to employ two separate tags—with one tag (for tracking weight information) attached to the container, and the other (for tracking production information) affixed to the printed production order—"because it is never clear which container will be used to store which nuts," says Joachim Reuter, a Nedschroef employee in charge of IT.
One main benefit provided by the system, Reuter says, is the ability to know and track an almost precise number of nuts that Nedschroef produces and sells. The Plettenberg plant alone manufactures 4,000 different types of nuts, and each container can hold up to 100,000 pieces, weighing a total of 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds).
"We have an error rate of only 1 percent with such a huge number of nuts," Reuter states.
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