Supply Chain Management
RFIDiom have worked on various industrial Supply Chain Management (SCM) RFID implementations in warehousing, manufacturing and distribution centre facilities. Our clients range from the retail garment sector to heavy-duty automotive manufacturers.
One of our recent assignments was based on ISO 18000-6C passive UHF (865-868 MHz) RFID technology for asset tracking purposes in a combined manufacturing and distribution centre. This was a very busy manufacturing site with continuous 24hr HGV and fork-lift truck operations and therefore fraught with logistical and Health & Safety issues. In order to complete our assignment, most of the work was completed off-site and the remaining on-site work was carried out during ‘worker break times’ and periods of relatively low activity.
Our involvement in this project was to provide assistance during the second stage deployment and to solve a number of system interoperability issues. The project was subdivided into the following sections and tackled accordingly:
- Carry out detailed and rigorous performance testing on a selection of LF, HF, UHF, semi-active, active, GPS, RTLS and passive EPC Gen2 inlays and tags across a wide range of sizes and silicon technologies;
- Produce price/performance correlative data for budgetary and contractual requirements and obligations;
- Investigate performance limitations with extended ‘User Memory’ data populations;
- Implement smart Tag Data Encoding schemes using backwards-compatible EPC Global Gen2 GRAI-170 data structures.
- Carry out performance and EPC Gen2 feature testing on a selection of fixed (portal) readers and mobile handheld devices;
- Investigate various reader antennas and RF interoperability issues;
- Assess various industry-standard and proprietary reader communication protocols and methods.
- Determine optimum and alternative tag application positions on various assets (boxes, trays and stillages);
- Advise on strategic installation points of UHF RFID portals and wired and/or WIFI ethernet network access points;
- Advise on operator ‘best practices’ and performance limitations.
- Conduct RF site surveys and adjust reader transmission power and channel allocations accordingly;
- Calibrate RFID read-zones and optimise proximity sensor detection and rejection fields;
- Optimise reader parameters, firmware settings and TCP/IP network configuration.
- Evaluate software middleware providers based on system requirements, performance and budget;
- Integrate middleware application across the client’s entire network infrastructure.
Schematic illustration of the site floorplan showing continuously-tracked internal and external asset movements
RFIDiom completed the assignment on time and budget. We were able to assist our client in the development of an integrated RFID tracking solution based on ‘real-world’ component and system evaluations. Our work was used to successfully procure the best performance and most cost-effective RFID systems.
As a by-product of this work, we were able to develop special ‘any application’ tags with enhanced read ranges in excess of 12 m. This is a significant accomplishment in passive UHF RFID, where typical tag read ranges hover at the 5-6 m mark. This range is drastically reduced when tags are placed in and around liquids, metals and other ionic/electronic material composites.
Our system enhancement and optimisation techniques were used to improve the overall performance by an average of 60 % in comparison to the initial Trial Stage.