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Inotec Delivers a Total of 16 Million RFID Labels to Migros in Switzerland by 2014

Use Cases | By inotec | 26 March 2014
Inotec RFID labels have already been used by Migros since 2012. With success: At the beginning of 2014, the biggest retail company in Switzerland ordered another eight million Inotec-Labels. Inotec RFID labels have already been used by Migros since 2012. With success: At the beginning of 2014, the biggest retail company in Switzerland ordered another eight million Inotec-Labels. Photo: wikipedia.org / Roland zh

Pool System in Retail

Complete Transparency in Container Management

About 10 million reusable containers are in circulation between more than 600 locations and suppliers of the biggest Switzerland retail company Migros every day – a major challenge when it comes to organizing logistics processes. In order to optimize the flow of goods and information sustainably and efficiently, the retail company has been counting on RFID based container detection since 2012 already. Since the integration, Migros was able to improve the transparency in the supply chain significantly, which is why another eight million labels were ordered from Inotec in February 2014. In dialogue with “RFID im Blick“, Christoph Reill, International Sales Director, reports, which added values companies, such as Migros, can generate with an RFID-based container management.

“The application's reliabilty is crucial to optimize such a large pool system with RFID“, says Christoph Reill. Due to the fact that the plastic containers, used every day, have to be loaded, stapled, and cleaned often, all used components have to be permanently resistant against external influences and resist the daily stresses even for years. “Migros confirmed that the adhesive labels we delivered, which are glued onto the plastic boxes using a UV-resistant HPV industrial adhesive that we optimized, have been working reliably for more than two years“, the sales director reports. The positive experience from the past two years were reason for Migros to order another eight million RFID labels from Inotec. Thus, the number of used labels will be doubled to a total of 16 million by 2016.

Optimizing the Own Manufacture

Christoph ReillChristoph Reill, International Sales Director“We are not aware of any closed RFID container pool system in Europe which is comparable in terms of numbers. The doubling of the labels used is a reliable proof that the supply chain processes have become more efficient for all stages“, says Christoph Reill. In order to guarantee the delivery of a high number of labels to Migros in constant quality permanently, the production at Inotec is continuously optimized. “Being able to deliver quickly is only one side of the medal. We commit ourselves to a promise of quality to our customers. The labels' permanent operability had an influence on the solution's success at Migros“, Reill reports.

Sub-Zero Temperatures? No Problem!

Without further ado, the containers could be used in refrigerated areas, says Christoph Reill. “The labels used by Migros can also be used in refrigerated areas of up to about minus 30 degrees. This is important, even if no frozen foods are to be transported. If the plastic containers are stored outdoor at sub-zero temperatures, for instance, standard adhesive can lose its durability and the labels can dissolve easily in case of vibration.“

Advantages of RFID Pool Systems

In general, automatic container detection in a pool system simplifies tracking and thus inventory management significantly. Possible errors, which may occur in manual detection, are minimized. UHF RFID technology allows for secure bulk detection of several containers in a single step. “Basically, RFID technology provides a broad range of added values in pool systems. However, every pool system has to be taken into account individually. If, for instance, metal items or containers with fluids are transported in boxes, the right spot has to be found to attach the transponder. For such requirements, we first of all test the processes in a construction at our test center with the boxes used by the customer. Once we have identified to optimal spot to mount the label. We make 'live' tests at the customer in a second step. This way we can develop solutions which provide sustainable added values.“

Limits of Durability?

The less labels have to be replaced, the faster the application pays off. Inotec gathers experience on durability with the RFID labels at its own test center. “Water, for instance, can aggressively influence the labels' durability. We have the option of simulating different stresses in long-term tests. This is the only way we can guarantee at least 150 washings. This number, however, is by far not the limit of durability. Even after 1,000 washings the labels still work flawlessly. Still, we continue testing until we reach the limits of functionality“, Christoph Reill explains and adds: “If a customer washes his containers once a moth it can easily be calculated, how long the maximum service life of a label can be.“ Every charge of labels is tested accoring to the customers requirements before shipment and is tested before it leaves Inotec's manufacturing division.

RFID Will Gain More And More Ground

“Migros currently operates one of the biggest reusable container pool systems in Europe which demonstrates the potential of RFID impressively. The requests for RFID solutions for container management have continuously increased cross-sectoral“ says Christoph Reill, looking back at the development in the last few years and adds: “Especially huge retail chains gain very strong momentum and are looking for applications that ensure the traceability in logistics. Still we also get increasingly requests from the industry, especially from the automotive environment."

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2015 17:31
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