Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Alliance One Turns Over a New Leaf in Tobacco Handling

In Brazil, RFID brings new efficiencies to product sorting and storage.
By John Edwards
Jan 23, 2012—Tobacco has been processed and organized in pretty much the same fashion for hundreds of years. But now, as in so many other industries, radio frequency identification is changing everything.

In Brazil, tobacco processor Alliance One Brasil Exportadora de Tabacos is pioneering the use of RFID for sorting and storing tobacco. The company turned to the technology with the goals of improving operational efficiency and minimizing mistakes and costs, says Dilnei Alexandre Haas, the Alliance One systems analyst in charge of the project.

Bales of tobacco at Alliance One's facility

Alliance On, with the help of approximately 4,000 permanent and temporary workers, processes more than 220,000 tons of tobacco annually. In 2010, the company was Brazil's 59th largest exporting company, with gross revenues of US$536.5 million—a figure representing 20 percent of the country's entire tobacco export market.

The System
Alliance One's tobacco production chain begins with the 30,000 small farmers who sell the tobacco leaves they grow on their own land to the company. As soon as a tobacco bale is purchased from a farmer at the "buying door" of an Alliance One production facility, that bale is loaded onto a conveyor and delivered to an expert leaf grader, who visually examines the tobacco and assigns it a grade. "The tobacco is graded according to the color, leaf position in the plant and quality," Haas explains. "The grading is done by Alliance One employees with deep tobacco knowledge."

After the bale has been graded, a printed RFID passive tag is applied—tucked under one of the strings tying the bale together—to provide both visual and electronic identification. Each reusable tag is pre-prepared to indicate one of several grades, and is attached to a bale by an employee stationed next to the grader. "This employee picks a card corresponding to the grade and sticks it on the bale," Haas says.

The graded bales next enter the plant's "airport" area—so named because conveyors within this section of the facility run in a continuous loop, like those found in a typical airport terminal's baggage-claim area. There are three extension conveyors within the airport area, each equipped with its own RFID portal. As a bale moves through the portal, its grade is detected. A mechanical piston then automatically deflects that bale toward the rack station dedicated to its grade, and the bales are manually moved onto the rack. Of the 18,000 tobacco bales checked each day, the pistons deflect approximately 60 percent onto extension conveyors leading to storage racks. The remaining bales are moved manually onto racks along the main loop.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,236 words and 3 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco