If RFID is used properly from the very beginning, it increases efficiency and avoids systemic and financial stalemates

Articles | By Winckel | 16 June 2015
RFID activities must be organised centrally - Almost every car manufacturer uses RFID or has tested its use in projects. Combining all corporate activities is the way to achieve success. RFID activities must be organised centrally - Almost every car manufacturer uses RFID or has tested its use in projects. Combining all corporate activities is the way to achieve success.

“Insular thinking gets in the way of RFID integration”

RFID technology is a lever for achieving efficient processes in the automotive industry. The currently available hardware is technically mature and manageable for integrators, despite their complexity. Companies that want to use RFID in their processes need a partner who knows the industry inside out and understands both the processes of the manufacturer and those of the suppliers. Mediation between all concerned parties is the crucial piece of the puzzle to achieve efficiency-enhancing RFID applications. However, in order to make the right decisions from the beginning of an RFID project, we need a holistic view and extensive system know-how, and this is what is offered by Winckel.

Jörg Bald, Managing Director, and Dr. Erhard Schubert, RFID Project Management, Winckel, in interview with “RFID im Blick”

RFID needs to move into new territory

Jörg Bald and Dr. Erhard Schubert want to get RFID applications in the automotive industry looked at in a different way. This is the only way to implement efficient trans-sectoral processes, and to take advantage of the enormous payback potential of investing in innovative solutions. “For example, the parts to be painted should be marked. RFID is the only solution here, as barcodes would no longer be readable after painting. Therefore an RFID application will be integrated – but only in the paint shop. Further potential for upstream or downstream processes is often disregarded and profits through efficiency are recklessly abandoned. Insular thinking is an RFID blocker par excellence.” This is how Jörg Bald describes an approach that, with the right advice given at the right time, can be steered in a different direction.

Jörg BaldJörg Bald“We want to motivate suppliers who do not yet use RFID to recognise the added value of this technology for their own processes. Instead of applying RFID transponders just for their OEMs, they should use them themselves.”

The RFID label as a starting point

Selecting appropriate labels has a crucial role in each RFID application, says Jörg Bald: “An application rarely functions efficiently with standard products, because too many factors depend on the selection of the inlay, cover material and adhesive, as well as printers and dispensing systems. If labels and their application do not work properly, RFID projects are placed quickly on hold, blighting added value. A widely held opinion in the market is that consumables are the decisive element of an ROI calculation.”

Consulting Service

Automotive industry companies most often work closely with automation technology manufacturers. That is why the hardware selection is not a key consideration for any of Winckel’s projects. “We see ourselves as consultants for integration. If a manufacturer is satisfied with its technology suppliers, we will not recommend a change. The compatibility of different hardware components exists through the use of the global standard EPC UHF Class I Gen 2. Our role is to support the integration and demonstrate the extensive potential gained by the proper use of RFID technology. Together with the appropriate departments, we prepare the collected data in such a way that they can be used in the SAP of the customer with no loss of time,” explains Jörg Bald.

Expertise is investment protection

The success of the German automotive industry is based on well-distributed manufacturing. Suppliers contribute their specialised expertise in certain components and modules, and these are assembled by the manufacturer to create a premium product. Both development and production take place at a high level. When used correctly from the beginning, RFID technology supports the processes of suppliers and manufacturers. Just as the companies in the automotive industry are experts in their field, they need the support of RFID experts, too. “If the RFID expertise of a consultant and integrator with industry experience is included right from the beginning, a company can optimise their processes without unnecessary investment loss. This way, RFID deployment is not a problem for the user at any time,” says Dr. Schubert.

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 12:00