RFID applications – Revolutionizing Automation

Aug 18, 2022

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology with various applications across domains – managing manufacturing processes, inspection of equipment, assets, supply chains, logistics, and tracking of goods right till consumption. In recent times, the technology has made a huge impact on process automation systems by enabling tagging and tracing of different units across the manufacturing process. This information can be leveraged to reduce inventory, enhance quality and automate manual processes to increase speed and efficiency. RFID technology is the underlying platform of an effective asset management system and is also pivotal to the IoT ecosystem.

Automation – the enabler that saves time and money

RFID solutions track the movement of goods automatically and transfer data to an ERP or financial management solution thereby eliminating the need for manual form filling and complex spreadsheets. RFID readers installed at strategic locations save time – like on a production line, or as products enter the inventory store, once again eliminating the need for manual intervention.

RFID tagging is fast gaining popularity although solutions simply implemented at the back end of processes prior to shipment, do not have much of an impact on process automation systems. While barcodes are used to track and trace, RFID is definitely a better technology considering that the tags can be read in volumes from a distance of 30 feet and do not require line of sight. Also, large amounts of information can be stored besides the fact that they are rewritable.Benefits of RFID in automation

Manual processes can be automated: With RFID tags applied in production, a time & date stamp is registered into the data associated with each product’s serial number. This helps in easy tracking of the product across the supply chain.

Better QC and safety: Before the implementation of RFID technology, plant managers were holding entire batches if issues were suspected. To ensure safety, timelines were impacted and more product than necessary was held in the process chain. With RFID, managers can identify what groups of products are affected thereby reducing the quantities held.

Enhanced productivity: The practice of inducting pallets into an Automated Storage/Retrieval System (ASRS) gets easier as supervisors need not place the pallet tags with accuracy. RFID ensures the tag is read when it is on the correct side irrespective of its exact location, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the ASRS.

Improved accuracy at shipping: Occasional human error pushed the unintended pallet onto the outbound platform. Loaders were unable to check and double check this consignment with accuracy always, resulting in the wrong product being delivered to the customer. RFID tags and readers in the ASRS, ensure the pallet tag is accurately read each time to verify the pallet count.

Improved inventory insights: With RFID technology the counting of an individual unit will be accurate considering each unit has a serial number assigned to it. This technology allows the counting of units to be accurate as those with an accurate serial number will be accounted for and others will be dismissed.

Boosting revenues: With the edge it offers in inventory management, RFID provides a distinct competitive edge increasing customer satisfaction and boosting sales.

Reduction in process time: RFID solutions can be integrated with other supply chain solutions like automated product handling to reduce the time cycles across the supply chain.

RFID tagging has been successfully implemented the following areas:

  • Inventory management
  • Asset and equipment tracking
  • Inventory control
  • Cargo and supply chain logistics
  • Vehicle tracking
  • Customer service and loss control
  • Improved visibility and distribution in the supply chain
  • Vehicle tagging to enable quick and accurate toll collection
  • Wagon tagging in railways

In India, RFID has transformed the toll collection process on our highways through FASTag. FASTag is the RFID Tag fixed on the windscreen of vehicles that enables a scanner to automatically deduct toll payments as vehicles pass through the gates.

Railway companies are deploying RFID-based solutions with rugged tags to get a comprehensive view of rail assets, including their condition, status and location of assets, enhancing safety and ensuring timely maintenance.

Syrma SGS Technology has a high level of expertise in RFID solutions. The company develops custom engineered RFID tags, RFID readers, and software for access control monitoring, inventory management, product authentication, etc. Syrma designs, engineers, and manufactures RFID tags in clear, epoxy, glass, and molded encapsulations covering standard wavelengths (LF, HF, and UHF). The company designs multi-protocol, custom-made, readers compatible with standard RFID tags and connects with iOS and Android devices. Syrma SGS also develops custom RFID software for various applications such as access control monitoring, inventory management, product authentication, etc.

A proven partner with expertise, logistics and product mix

Syrma SGS has been the preferred EMS partner for its customers over the last 40 years through innovative and efficient Electronic System Design and Manufacturing. The company provides high-mix, flexible volume precision OEM manufacturing. Syrma has proven expertise in RFID tags, cards and underlying technologies and offers OEM solutions to businesses across domains in this space. Syrma SGS serves global OEMs in 20+ countries and has supplied several hundreds of million units to satisfied customers.