Nov 07, 2017—
A furniture manufacturing company is piloting a radio frequency identification-based solution from Radley Corp., a supply chain management solutions company in Grand Rapids, Mich., to better manage its assembly processes by automatically identifying which component is being built onto which product. Two other companies are currently in discussions to begin trailing the RFID solution as well, Radley reports.
The pilots signal the first use cases of Radley's new RFID functionality as part of its software platform for manufacturing and logistics management. The company has been providing its platform to manufacturers for several decades, to help them manage their assembly processes and warehouses.
Radley has supplied manufacturing software since 1974. During the past ten years, the firm has expanded into warehouse management and logistics, as well as integrating data from assembly machines into its single platform. Now, says Kevin Cammet, Radley's VP, the company is building in RFID hardware, and data captured from each tag read is fed into the software. "RFID serves as the next extension for collecting data," he states.
Traditionally, companies like Radley's customers have employed a variety of applications to manage such details as asset location and status, work-in-progress (WIP) and inventory management. Radley has been focused on integration so that details about assembly, as well as the health of assembly equipment based on sensor data, could be built into the solution. Bar-code scans can also be collected and used for Radley's software platform to provide actionable data.
During the past few years, the company has been testing ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID to determine whether such technology would be affordable and effective for its customers. A furniture manufacturer currently testing the technology, which has asked remain unnamed, is using RFID to track its WIP. A tag is placed on each component, and every tag is linked in the software to data regarding an individual component.
As a product moves through assembly work stations, the tag on each component is read, and is linked to the product being assembled. If the component does not match the product requirements, an alert can be displayed for the operator on the assembly floor, or be sent to management.