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RFID & Wireless IoT Global

RFID Optimism at Daimler - Only RFID provides consistent solutions

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 13 July 2016
The feasibility of the project was recently demonstrated in the proof of concept. Connecting to existing backend systems and testing in the real production environment will follow. First applications have already been integrated. The feasibility of the project was recently demonstrated in the proof of concept. Connecting to existing backend systems and testing in the real production environment will follow. First applications have already been integrated. Photo: Daimler

Daimler uses RFID productively. Plans and projects for applying RFID to numerous other processes are currently being drafted.

Will the next step in series production succeed, and how can a cross-company RFID application be managed?

Positioning techniques, airbag assembly documentation, and RFID Kanban, in addition to the cross-OEM-supplier RFID project: the RFID experts at Daimler in Sindelfingen are busy thinking about numerous processes. The technical feasibility has been demonstrated recently in a proof of concept. The connection to existing backend systems as well as tests within a real production environment will follow. First applications have already been implemented. “The RFID technology has now reached a level of maturity where sustainable process benefits are now feasible,“ says Thomas Gintschel. At the same time, RFID know-how has become so widespread that it can be realistically determined in which processes RFID use is sensible, and in which other technologies should be favoured. Thomas Gintschel and Albert Kronmüller spoke with ‘RFID im Blick Global’ about the applications that are already in use, and whether the applications tested under real conditions are close to serial production.

Thomas Gintschel, Senior Manager IT at Daimler, CoC Lead Shopfloor and Vehicle Software, Information Officer Sindelfingen, and Albert Kronmüller, Director CoC RFID Standards & Services, Daimler, in an interview with ‘RFID im Blick Global’

Only RFID provides consistent solutions

The Industry 4.0 vision has provided an additional impetus at Daimler—to deal intensively with innovative RFID applications to optimise the entire supply chain. “In different sections, we can use RFID technology to our advantage, today. The technology has reached a maturity level which can achieve our goal of 100 percent detection. Today, we also know exactly where the use of a RFID application pays off and in which applications to use simpler identification technologies such as barcodes,“ says Thomas Gintschel. “In particular, cross-company RFID-use has great importance and potential for process optimisation at the interface between OEMs and suppliers.“

Thomas GintschelThomas Gintschel “We feel a spirit of optimism when we actually deploy RFID applications. Driven by the vision of Industry 4.0, development is no longer just theoretical: RFID applications are nearing series production. A main focus is clearly on cooperation with our suppliers, to close final gaps in the value chain with RFID.”

The challenge: implementation of standards

The cross-company RFID-use which Daimler targeted and section tested only had a chance of lasting success if it made use of number systems based on standards. Only through the use of standards which are the same for all companies can the data be passed though the entire value chain. “Currently, we use the supplier’s item numbers to identify carriers or individual objects. The implementation of new standards is particularly challenging for IT.

At Daimler, the right time to make a change is crucial. Until when do we use the old numbers and when do we switch to the new numbers? Until what point in the past should the data remain available? The ERP data alignment needs to be absolutely flawless when it takes place. The effort during production is correspondingly high,“ explains Albert Kronmüller. “Nevertheless, there is no alternative to data standards in the long run, to ensure error-free cross-company data transfer. Thus, we are actively involved in the VDA AICD working group. The VDA recommendations in regards to container management, module tracking, or global transport labelling laid the foundation for future easy-to-implement cross-company processes. For data exchange, we will also increasingly rely on Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) in the future.“

RFID can be read once instead of eight times required by a barcodePicture: Daimler

RFID can be read once instead of eight times required by a barcode

In the future, Daimler wants to detect variable vehicle data automatically. “This data can only be assigned to the vehicle dynamically during the manufacturing process,“ explains Thomas Gintschel. An RFID proof- of-concept during the driver‘s airbag installation has been carried out successfully. In the upcoming series production-based test, the backend systems will be connected. “The serial number of each installed airbag must be linked to the vehicle master data, for the airbag installation to be traceable. In the past, a barcode had to be read manually. With an RFID label on each airbag, manual and time-consuming processes at several stations are no longer necessary. In the future, the detection of serial numbers can always take place after installation. Thus, only one reading station would be required,“ explains Albert Kronmüller.

Making sparks in car body construction

In cooperation with two other companies who deliver sheet metal parts to the body shop, Daimler has designed the integration of an automatic goods reception and subsequent asset tracking system. This is currently being employed in an initial pilot project. Two different types of carriers are used. The first is a universal carrier with the VDA -compliant RFID tags for detection in accompanying material documents. The second is permanently marked with a transponder, and comprises approximately 10,000 special containers belonging to Daimler. “The carriers move through gates and are automatically recorded. The path of the raw materials from the supplier to the supermarket is thus tracked traceably. A proof of concept gave a reading accuracy of over 99 percent, so our suppliers now print RFID documents as part of the pilot project,“ explains Thomas Gintschel.

The complete interview will be published soon in the second edition of "RFID im Blick Global".

Last modified on Thursday, 14 July 2016 12:06