Why RFID for Manufacturing Applications?

Uses of RFID technology in manufacturing environments have improved many applications including tracking work-in-process, tools, parts bins, returnable transport containers, finished goods inventory, and much more.

Today, manufacturers need to be as efficient as possible. Globalization, increased competition, and other economic pressures make it critical that manufacturers reduce labor costs, increase asset utilization, and lower material costs. At the same time, the customers’ needs are expanding with demands for faster delivery, customized products, and better customer service. In manufacturing environments, RFID applications will address those challenges.

RFID technology uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking. RFID technology also allows for Bulk Reading which is the reading of multiple tags at one time. For example, a pallet load of 100 different items each with an RFID Track and Trace tag can be identified at once without having to break the pallet down.

The right RFID solution for manufacturing applications requires a detailed and well-planned strategy. BCI offers an experienced understanding of the capabilities of RFID technology in order to help customers plan and implement a cost-effective and valuable RFID application.

Benefits of RFID in Manufacturing

  • Improve Efficiency – No line-of-sight is required for RFID technology. RFID technology will eliminate the need to remove labeled items from cases, pallets, cartons, etc., and thus provide significant productivity improvements and cost savings.
  • Durability – RFID technology tags and hardware can withstand harsh environments. RFID tags will last for years longer than traditional bar code labels, and the hardware is built with great ruggedness. RFID technology will provide a long-lasting solution.
  • Flexibility – There is a long-read range associated with RFID tags, and RFID tags can store much more information than a 2D barcode and are re-writeable. RFID technology is more flexible than barcode data collection solutions.
  • Reduce Costs – RFID in manufacturing will bring many operational enhancements in efficiency and will help to reduce stock levels and operating costs. RFID technology may be a significant cost up front but numerous companies have seen a positive ROI and are grateful for the implementation.
  • Real-Time Tracking – With RFID technology, people, items, equipment, and manufacturing procedures can be tracked in real-time and improve demand forecasting. Companies with better demand forecast accuracy also have less inventory (~15%), better perfect order ratings (~17%), and shorter cash-to-cash cycle times (~35%) than competitors. RFID technology will provide real-time tracking and improve the speed and accuracy of tracking applications.
  • Continual ROI – RFID technology may be more expensive than bar code technology, however, there have been tremendous strides in the technology making it more affordable. The benefits of improved operations from RFID technology provide a fast ROI averaging 1-2 years and have saved many manufacturing companies in the U.S. thousands and even millions of dollars.

RFID in Manufacturing Case Study Provided by Zebra Technologies

This 4 minute video provided by our partners at Zebra technologies provides a detailed case study for RFID in manufacturing. The video features employees from Campbell Hausfeld manufacturing facilities talking about the reasons for choosing RFID technology and the benefits they have seen.