Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > Manufacturing/Packaging

RFID ushers supply chain transformation

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel? Internet of Things? RFID? supply chain? logistics?

Despite being developed more than half a century ago, RFID chips remain to be one of the most transformative technologies in the manufacturing supply chain because of the role they can play in Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled logistics. The devices play a significant role in logistics and in making the manufacturing process "smart." Their ability to track, connect and read objects directly fits into the technology that comprises the IoT.

"Smart" objects give manufacturers, health care providers and business enterprises the information needed to track inventory, manage machines, improve efficiency and save money. According to Intel, by 2025, the global worth of IoT technology could total as much as $6.2 trillion, with manufacturing responsible for $2.3 trillion. Furthermore, 40.2 per cent of the market for IoT technology will be in the business and manufacturing sectors, including real-time analytics of supply chains and equipment as well as robotic machinery.

Those small, wireless chips with antennae can each carry roughly 2KB of data, which can be recalled by a reader within close range virtually instantly. That means a warehouse pallet of thousands of devices can be read and tracked immediately.

Although RFID technology has been around since the 1970s, until recently, the technology was expensive to employ in a widespread manner. That cost decrease has made the tags "throwaway," so manufacturers can identify products using RFID without wasting money: For example, Gillette recently bought 500 million RFID tags from Alien Technologies at a cost of about 10 cents per tag.

RFID chips play a key role in logistics

RFID chips play a key role in logistics (Photo courtesy: Intel)

The time when a certain per centage of missing product, called shrinkage, was acceptable is long gone. Using RFID tags to maintain strict inventory can reduce or eliminate that issue. Distributors can use warehouse management systems (WMS) with RFID capabilities to track the exact location of each piece of inventory in a facility. A label with a transmitting micro-chip are attached to each item. Those transmitters are constantly sending the current location of each back to the WMS software.

RFID chips, attached to individual items or pallets, can transmit a wide variety of information, including identification, location, temperature, pressure and humidity. By using RFID not only on products but also within transportation systems, manufacturers can: reduce the amount of goods lost or misplaced in transit since each product will transmit its location; avoid damaged goods when the chip signals oncoming adverse weather conditions, such as high temperature or humidity; and minimise the impact of late shipments, because they transmit traffic conditions and drive-specific data, such as average speed as well as driving patterns, to the main office.

1???2?Next Page?Last Page

Article Comments - RFID ushers supply chain transformat...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top