RFID Case Study: real-time pallet detection and localization
Roba Metals supplies steel, aluminium, and other metal products to customers all around the world. As their global profile has expanded, so have their warehouses—but their barcode scanning system was unable to keep up, leading to delays and lost pallets. With customers expecting turnaround times as short as one day, they needed a real-time tracking solution. Roba found a good partner in Aucxis to collaborate. Together they looked for the best solution with RFID applications.
In order to localize the correct pallets for dispatch to a customer and to pick them up in the warehouses, Roba Metals worked with a traditional barcode scanner and an Excel file. As more and more storage space is built, and the pallet locations were not always registered, the search times rose sharply and their barcode scanning system was unable to keep up. This while the delivery times are becoming increasingly short: customers expecting turnaround times as short as one day. Therefore, Roba Metals was looking for a real-time detection and localization solution which could be linked to its WMS.
After a year of collaboration and testing, Aucxis delivered a real-time pallet detection and localization system, linkable to their WMS. This solution provides an accurate and up-to-date overview of the internal logistic movements through automatic location and load control. Once a product is complete and ready for use, it is packaged and given a barcode with customer information, an ID number, and two RAIN RFID tags. Two tags are necessary for each pallet to be found by two different forms of transport: a forklift for carrying to drop-off zones, and a bridge crane located on the warehouse ceiling which moves in a grid, finding the exact pallet based on X-Y coordinates. With an estimated 100,000 tagged pallets moving each year, it’s important to be confident in the location of pallets!
- After production, each pallet of product is equipped with 2 RAIN RFID tags in order to be readable by both a forklift and a bridge crane
- Once it is tagged, a forklift equipped with an Impinj Speedway reader (provided by Cisper) moves the pallet to a temporary drop-off zone
- A bridge crane equipped with another Impinj Speedway reader moves the pallet from the drop-off zone to a storage area where it will await shipping
- To prepare for shipping, the reverse movement takes place: a bridge crane picks the correct pallet and moves it to a drop off zone where a forklift will take it to shipping
- Each forklift has three antennas on the front and bottom to scan floor tags and send real-time location data
Thanks to the real-time pallet detection and localization system from Aucxis, every step of every pallet is monitored throughout the logistic flow, from storage after production to loading on trucks for transport.
- Faster and more accurate: RAIN RFID systems are able to identify and locate items without line of sight. The Track&Trace system sped up the pallet location process by 50%, nearly eliminating human errors.
- A better work environment with less pressure: With faster picking, there is less pressure to find lost pallets and meet shipping deadlines. Warehouse staff reported less frustration and employees are available to perform non-picking tasks.
- Real-time asset and inventory data: Each RAIN RFID-enabled forklift reads multiple pallet tags at once—and reads the floor tags, which they cross over at an average speed of 12 km/h. As a result, asset and inventory data is available in real-time.
Aucxis offers powerful and flexible RFID solutions through hardware installation and development of RFID middleware and interfaces. As an independent integrator, Auxcis helps customers define and aquire the RFID components best suited to meet customer objectives.Back to Case studies