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RFID and Logistics Management
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APPLICATION PROFILE—BONDED WAREHOUSE

A bonded warehouse in the U.K. stores expensive single-malt whis­kies that are subject to theft even by the warehouse employees. Pallets carrying these stocks are also subject to being misplaced, thus delay­ing on-time deliveries. To prevent these problems, it was necessary to ensure that forklift trucks moving pallets would pass correctly along preset routes. Deviations might mean that employees were taking prod­uct off to a hiding location intentionally for later theft or were just misplacing stock. To create this security system, the company built a grid of transponders suspended from the ceiling. The forklift trucks are equipped with RFID readers. Routing details are downloaded to the forklift truck from a central computer via a radio frequency communi­cation link. This includes correct loading location, exact sequence of transponders along the route, and the delivery bay location. If the on­board reader detects deviations, the truck is immobilized and a super­visor is needed to reset the vehicle. Automatic weighing is also used in combination with the system.

Receiving Incoming Materials

     Pallet—tag contains manifest of items on pallet (product descrip­
tions, quantities, weights, lot numbers, and use/sell-by dates, plus
unique ID to track pallet)

     Readers on the floor are linked to computerized ordering and stock
control system. Sophisticated operations might be even be mani­
fest to details of anticipated deliveries.

     If no match, a red light flashes to alert receiving bay personnel of
discrepancy.

     Eliminates need for manual logging.

THE NEW WORLD OF SMART LABELS

The demand for radio frequency identification (RFID) has fueled re­search and development during the last few years, resulting in break­throughs in both technology and pricing. "Smart labels" represent the next generation in RFID for industries who want to uniquely identify and track millions of items at a low cost.

     Cost of tags in tens of cents range

     Produced in very high volumes.

     Thin, flexible construction.

     Read/write-programmable at point of issue.

     Simultaneous ID (SID).

Tag-it Markets

     airline baggage

     express parcels

     product ID and tracking

     brand authentication.

Smart Labels

Tag-it inlays are manufactured into labels by leading label companies like Avery Dennison, Moore, and METO.

Combining Technologies

Well-known companies in the bar code industry have already integrated the ability to read and program Tag-it smart labels into their equip­ment. Some of these include Zebra, Genicom, and METO bar code printers and PSC hand-held and stationary scanners.

Tag-it for Smart Labels

      operating frequency 13.56 MHz

      thinness (less than 250um)

      user memory (256 bits) 

-      factory programmed

-      user onetime programmed (OTP)

-      portion reprogrammable during life 

      read speed (20ms ID only)

      SID of 40 tags per second.

Not Just an EAS Tag

Multifunction capability for

1.        antitheft and authentication

2.   manufacturing automation

3.        inventory and logistics management

4.   electronic receipt

5.        warranty tracking.

Tagging at Levels in the Supply Chain

RFID experts are now talking about an infrastructure that includes lev­els of tagging in the supply chain, such as

      consumer units—products and individual items

      traded units—boxes/packaging/product carriers

      distribution units—pallets/trucks.
 

Benefits of RFID Smart Labels

Can be embedded into products. Durable in harsh environments. Pro­duces independent unique ID. Raises the bar for fraudsters because it is orders of magnitude more difficult to duplicate.

SUMMARY

      Offers highly reliable data collection in harsh environments.

      Eliminates manual data entry—slow and prone to errors

      Inspires new automation solutions. Fundamentally changes how processes are managed and how businesses operate. Causes a paradigm shift.

      Good information management structure is a MUST.


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