The application of RFID technology in furniture manufacturing industry
Abstract: This paper introduces the process of VLG furniture manufacturing company implementing EPC tracking system together with zebra technologies and R4 global solutions, the selection of labels and label printers used, and how to deal with Wal Mart's RFID system
although victory land group, a furniture manufacturer and importer, is not the top 100 suppliers designated by Wal Mart to participate in RFID, it has become one of only 37 suppliers who voluntarily join Wal Mart's RFID tag program started by EPC technology
the RFID tag printer/encoder for on-demand smart tag coding and identification of EPC class 1 Tags has a compact structure, and its printing resolution can reach 203dpi
because VLG is not the top 100 suppliers designated by Wal mart that must use RFID tags since January 1, 2005, it can not supply Wal mart with goods with EPC tags until 2006 or 2007. However, the company hopes to start and speed up the implementation of RFID as soon as possible, and VLG has considered building a new distribution center. Although there is no experience in applying RFID, VLG believes that building a new production base should be a good opportunity to implement RFID from scratch. Therefore, in August 2004, VLG decided to supply Wal mart with goods with RFID tags at the beginning of 2005
vlg knows that no matter what, it will soon start to attach RFID smart tags to its furniture transportation, so it feels that it is a wise choice to take the lead in the application of RFID. However, it still faces an uncertain route in how to adapt to EPC. Like the requirements of RFID faced by many suppliers and packers, VLG also does not know how to meet the requirements of RFID
strong forces work together to implement RFID
VLG cooperates with zebra technologies and R4 global solutions on RFID, which is a synthesizer of RFID systems and has developed more than a dozen RFID tag programs for Wal Mart's suppliers. After VLG immediately implemented an initial RFID solution, it felt confident in RFID and knew how to apply this technology before starting to build its new distribution center
"we know that there are still some misunderstandings about RFID," said Hudson Magloire, an operation analyst at VLG, "You've heard too much about the difficulties or obstacles of RFID in obtaining a good reading rate, and in addition to having to change the existing business, we have to spend a lot of money in this aspect. But as our project continues to deepen, our view of this has also changed greatly. When you start doing it, you find that it is actually much simpler than originally thought."
many furniture supplied by VLG to Wal Mart will first be transported to the distribution center in Schaumburg for final assembly. The company decided to start its whole plan by labeling the bench, because doing so would minimize the impact on the warehouse operation, and it would be implemented quickly and cheaply. Considering other additional applications, the initial task of labeling the bench can also provide a good reference for the accumulation of RFID experience. In the bench scheme, VLG uses pallets to load transport boxes, and each transport box is equipped with only one bench. Pallets and boxes are labeled to meet Wal Mart requirements
"we want to make internal use of the advantages of RFID technology," Magloire said. "We think we can learn RFID technology and gain experience from the tagged bench scheme supplied for Wal Mart, so as to establish a competitive advantage."
vlg requires R4 global solutions to provide expertise in system design, label placement, software integration and technology selection. According to Magloire, the details of the bench and the number of orders come from VLG's macrola business/resource/Planning (ERP) system experimental results based on the exact software N.V. company. The spatial finite element analysis values with a single cross slope are analyzed and compared with the model experimental results, and then input to the r4m plus RFID label printer/encoder of zebra company. R4m plus RFID tag printer/encoder for epc1 tags combines on-demand smart tag coding and recognition performance to meet the emerging supply chain needs in the form of heat/heat transfer printing. In order to support the ultra high frequency (UHF) class 1 transponder of alien technology company, the system can provide two functions of "read-write" and "read-only". Zebra said that because UHF transponders can read unattended batches over a long distance, this kind of radar transceiver is applicable to labeled pallets and transport boxes throughout the supply chain. Because the compact printer/encoder is made of die cast metal, its printing resolution can reach 203dpi, and the width of the printed label can reach 4.09 inches, the length is 10 inches, and the printing speed per second is 245mm
r4m plus label printer/encoder also uses the automatic roller label roll after zebra integrates the RFID fancy label of alien company. Zebra used bartender software from its partner seagull scientific systems when designing bar code shipping labels. In order to prepare the Wal Mart format RFID activated by EPC, seagull upgraded its software to the latest version. According to R4 global, the conventional EPC intermediate equipment exports the data from the ERP main system, and then sends it to the software of the label printer, after which the printer prints and encodes the label
"VLG company told us that they want to use zebra's printer because they are very familiar with and satisfied with the bar code shipping labels printed by this printer," Sean mcnunn of R4 global said. "VLG also wants to know whether zebra company can help them meet the requirements of the new RFID labels. Of course, the final result is that zebra company is doing very well."
label printer/encoder and bartender software were just commercialized products at that time, so representatives from zebra company and its partners vars and R4 global worked together to ensure that the print driver and coding functions could operate synchronously and meet the requirements. The printer can automatically make the embedded smart tag effective before or after its coding
we believe that it will certainly make great changes in our operation process, but this is not the case. Our staff work seamlessly
specific production process
"when the printer has printing work, it can use multiple commands to process the RFID program of the label," explained Matt ream, senior manager of RFID system, zebra company should replace the seal, "When using the standard zebra barcode label format, you can specify the RFID data programmed into the label with one or two additional commands. The first thing the printer needs to deal with is RFID information. The RFID read and write module built in the printer will spot check the label to make sure that it is all right. Next, the label will be programmed. After verifying the data to be programmed, the printer will print the barcode letter that people can read Interest. This is simply impeccable for end users. If any of these steps is wrong, or we find a 'bad' label, or there is an error message on the label for some reason, the system will print an invalid message on the surface of the whole label. Then, the system will process the next tag and repeat the above steps. "
this is to avoid unreadable smart tags, ream said, and it is a key measure to ensure the quality and reliability of tags. Due to the initial test and adjustment, the performance and reading rate of VLG tags are quite excellent
"VLG decided to print labels in its factory instead of on-demand printing in the warehouse, so factory workers need to take on the responsibility of managing smart labels," mcnunn pointed out, "the possibility of errors will be eliminated in the front-end factory."
r4 global said that only after they configured the system, the ERP software that manages the input information can reference special inventory units through a management screen and mark Wal Mart instructions for smart tags by annotating special transportation areas after "RFID activation"
vlg factory workers produce such labels, and then hand them over to the warehouse to be used as the details of selecting products to execute orders. After selecting the boxes that meet the requirements of the order, the workers in the warehouse will manually stick the RFID smart tag on the transportation box. Once an order is completed, and the product is sealed, labeled and palletized, an RFID pallet label will also be manually attached to the palletizer
once the printer is installed and running, you can see that the whole plan is much simpler than we thought at the beginning
according to VLG, there is still a lot of spare space in the transportation box of the bench, and the wooden bench is very friendly to infinite RF signals, so it is easy to find a place on its box where RFID tags can be pasted with the best reading rate
r4 global found that the products and packaging are "RFID friendly enough" to be labeled anywhere in the box. The label is applied so as not to damage the printed pattern on the outside of the box. PD learned that the pallet labels were attached to the outside of the shrink wrap integrated with the pallet
this 4 × The 6-inch smart tag will be checked by R4 Global's entrance/set reader that combines an alien reader and four antennas before transportation. The use of entry readers ensures that these tags are readable. When the box passes through the transport door before being moved to the truck with a forklift, the labels on the pallet and the transport box will be identified by the reader supported by the antenna. A traffic light device is located next to the loading and unloading door. Green, yellow and red respectively indicate whether the information obtained from the tag has been accepted by the reader. For example, when the green light is on, it means that the information on the label will be sent back to the ERP system after verification. VLG said that by transferring transportation information to ERP system, it can better predict product demand and improve the final effect
dealing with RFID
in December 2004, VLG was still continuing their labeling plan just before the deadline set by Wal Mart, which was less than 4 months since they first discussed the plan with R4 global solutions and zebra. R4 global said that according to the requirements of VLG, it was a set of rigorous design methods that enabled them to meet the set requirements in a very simple way
vlg company can now log in to Wal Mart retail contact. Under the correct leadership of CSG academy and the company's management team, the supplier station can track the sales of its labeled goods, and also begin to use the information fed back from its own plan. The company is still considering ways to use RFID technology internally and expects to provide RFID operations when they start building a new distribution center
vlg's goal is to become an active member of the Wal Mart RFID first demonstration program and gain RFID experience before this program. It is very satisfied with the results of the rapid integration of RFID into its products
but Magloire said that they found that it was not necessary to