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RFID-based Processes Ensure Streamlined Manufacturing and a 100 per cent Workload at Magna Exteriors & Interiors

Use Cases | By PR RFID im Blick | 08 July 2015
Variants and Plausibility Checks: RFID-based component tracking helps to increase quality and minimise wastage Variants and Plausibility Checks: RFID-based component tracking helps to increase quality and minimise wastage Photo: Magna Exteriors & Interiors

“We can produce goods more effectively and reliably”

Two years after the launch of RFID-enabled bumper production in Meerane, Hendrik Rothe, CEO of Magna Exteriors & Interiors (Meerane), comes to a positive conclusion: “The reliability of RFID-based manufacturing and system solutions ensures product quality – this is a successful way of attracting new customers as well as convincing automotive suppliers. Within an unusually short time the Magna plant in Saxony, Meerane, achieved 100 per cent utilisation. And the use of the technology will be expanded and refined.”

Hendrik Rothe, CEO Magna Exteriors & Interiors (Meerane), in interview with “RFID im Blick”

Focus on Further Streamlining and Achieving more Process Quality

“Two years ago we were heavily focused on achieving functional consistency of component tracking within the production chain and enabling component recognition in the machines and within the facilities. In the meantime, we have moved towards networked systems focusing on two main principles,” says Hendrik Rothe. One focus is to bring additional intelligence into the systems in order to check the components even better. Therefore variety and plausibility checks take place, or assignments can be double checked to eradicate incorrect deliveries using intelligent processes and machines.

Extending Integrated AIDC Technology

The second focus at the present time is on the better utilisation of data analysis options to streamline and optimise production processes to achieve increased productivity: “Our goal is to ensure exemplary processes to prevent any wastage,” continues the CEO. MEI Meerane is planning further integrations to extend the use of the technology. “In the future, we want to combine RFID technology with additional technologies such as optical systems for camera technology. All the new features we have planned, linking RFID with other technologies, are designed to ensure quality.”

Increasing the Number of Projects from One to Ten

Since August 2012, the automotive supplier Magna has produced front and rear bumpers for the VW Golf VII at the facility in the West-Saxon town of Meerane and delivers them ‘just-in-sequence’ to Volkswagen Saxony at their plant in Mosel. The plant in Meerane started the RFID implementation in bumper production, with the intention of extending it to other facilities. “The roll-out of the RFID system at other Magna plants is partially completed, but still ongoing,” reports Rothe. “The advantage of the greenfield facility in Meerane was that the RFID system was productive straight away. The other Magna plants operate in a similar way using the same technology. The integration was gradually implemented into the existing system infrastructure as part of a restructuring project. New projects are also covering RFID functionalities.”

Magna Establishes its Position and the Use of RFID in Saxony, Germany

RFID has also been brought in at the site in Saxony. At the newly built Magna Module Centre in Leipzig an additional final assembly facility for bumper production started their operation. The prefabrication takes place in two other Magna plants. “For us it is crucially important to operate two Module Centres with one unified system. This is so we have a fast, transparent data flow and a constant overview of which component is made where. “Two years ago, the use of RFID was limited to a small production range. Today, everything at Magna Meerane runs on the AIDC / RFID process infrastructure so as to meet the requirements of various extensions. “In 2013 we started with one project and one OEM, today we have ten projects with three OEMs,” Rothe explains the significant stages. These include Volkswagen, Peugeot and BMW.

Hendrik RotheHendrik RotheThe plant Achieved a 100 Per Cent Workload in a Short Time

The track record of success: the plant in Meerane is running at 100 per cent utilisation, with production runs happening in three shifts around the clock. “When the plant was founded we did not expect to so quickly achieve 100 per cent utilisation. This is confirmed by the plant’s prime position in Saxony and evidence that we are technologically ahead because of quality assurance, automated processes and RFID-based manufacturing,” says Rothe, adding, “With the integration of the systems in Meerane and the rapid and efficient implementation in Leipzig, we were also able to demonstrate to BMW, our customer in Leipzig that we have developed a very process-safe system. So last summer BMW placed their trust in us by working with us.”

High-Quality Standards and Traceability

Magna provides high-quality standards and prevents wastage ensuring reliability by using RFID technology. “The advantage and the high value for the customer is that we can cover numerous functions for quality assurance by linking the systems. This goes as far as printing dispatch and advanced shipping notices (ASNs), including analysing the upstream processes. This ensures that the audit and quality standards of the components meet the customer’s requirements. Should there be any questions, the 100 per cent traceability guarantees answers,” says Rothe, explaining the added value of RFID technology.

Further Potential: RFID for Tracking Components

So far, automobile manufacturers have not explicitly demanded the RFID-based tracking of bumpers in the supply chain and it has not been standard procedure, either. “95 per cent of bumper tracking in the automotive industry in Europe is not RFID-based, but there are signs of change with the use of AIDC for new projects,” Rothe is convinced. The system infrastructure at Magna was exclusively concerning internal processes, and the RFID tag has not been used by OEMs up until now. Bumpers are generally very well suited to ‘RFID reading procedures’ in manufacturing or during loading processes. Therefore, the same tag could be used, and it’s possible that a second RFID tag could also be attached at a suitable location and position. RFID has proved to be beneficial for internal use. “Especially in relation to the number of variants of exteriors we are talking about a high number of different paint colours ranging from 1000 to 9999. RFID is an ideal way to assure quality painting processes.”

Last modified on Thursday, 22 October 2015 13:05
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