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RFID In Manufacturing & Warehousing

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RFID is not new. It has been an integral part of the modern life, especially in industrial settings for some time. For Example, RFID transmitters are built into access control badges, theft protection tags in retail stores and totes in manufacturing sites.
At the same time, Supply Chain visibility is a key contributor to increasing supplychain performance from both a financial and service-level perspective. Greater visibility as well as more accurate and timely information about supply-chain execution, allows for reduced safety stocks (thus optimizing cash to cash cycles and reducing inventory carrying costs) and increased on-time performance to customer commitments. The technology also plays a critical role in addressing shrinkage and grey-market control concerns.

In recent years, standards for information encoding, information readers and lowlevel information management that use the Internet as a universally available transport mechanism have been developed under the leadership of the Auto ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The development of passive tags allows the manufacturing of tags for as little as five cents, with a future perspective of achieving even lower price points. These developments, and the “push” provided by Wal-Mart and the United States Department of Defense, who have both decreed that their leading suppliers be RFID ready, are the foundation of a significant improvement in Supply Chain Management tools and systems in which all relevant assets will carry with them their own electronic identification, which can be queried at any point in time and at any location.


How does RFID work?

Auto-ID Technology, know by the popular name Radio Frequency Identification, or (RFID) refers to the process of storing data to and retrieving data from integrated circuits using radio frequency transmissions. An RFID architecture that leverages current standards consists of the following parts:
• An RFID transponder that broadcasts its Electronic Product Code (EPC) information.
• These transponders, or tags, can be either active or passive.
• An active tag includes an internal power source and transmitter.
• A passive tag reflects energy radiated by an interrogator (reader). Meaning they get their power from the RF waves striking them. They have no internal power source of their own.
• An RFID Reader, which activates the tag and reads its response.
• Communication between an interrogator and a transponder occurs via radio waves. This is very similar in operation to a cordless telephone.
• NOTE: The communication does not require a line of sight between the devices. RFID tags can be read through packaging, shipping containers, and most materials with the exception of something conductive like water and metal. Objects with these elements are modified so RFID tags are positioned to minimize interference.

• Transmission speed and range is determined by the frequency used, antenna size, power, and interference. Even under poor conditions, RFID interrogators far exceed a manual counting process in speed and accuracy. When security is a concern, the communication can be encrypted to ensure the integrity of the data passing between the tag and reader.
• The Savant server sends data received from the RFID reader to the next higher level using standards developed by the AutoID center. It consists of a computer which had a real time in-memory database (REID), an event management service
(EMS) and a task management system (TMS) used to filter he stream of information from the reader.
• The Application server bridges the gap between the machine level communications captured by the Savant server and business applications that reside on other servers. These applications include Warehouse Management Systems, (WMS), Transportation Management Systems, and other supply chain or enterprise systems.

The RFID tag responds to the reader by broadcasting its EPC, which is a 96-bit code
consisting of:
• 8 bits of header information
• 28 bits identifying the organization that assigned the code
• 24 bits identifying the type of product
• 36 bits representing information for the product

Download the full white paper below.

Last modified on Tuesday, 02 October 2012 08:28

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