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Industry 4.0 is here: How RFID can help businesses become industry 4.0 ready

  • Mahesh Tiwari
  • Feb 09, 2024
  • RFID

Industries have evolved over the decades, from manufacturing to operations everything has changed. Earlier it was steam engine driven mechanization (1784) then electric powered mass production on assembly line (1870); and then it was digital, representing the evolution to computerized and automated machinery (1970).

Now industry 4.0 (today) is here, the age of real time data collection and storing, making sense of data using machine learning (ML) and leveraging AI (Artificial intelligence) to forecast.

RFID is one such AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technology that can help businesses in becoming industry 4.0 ready.

“This era is characterized by interconnectivity between equipments and facilities throughout supply chains made possible by the Internet (4G & 5G).”

How RFID can increase visibility in supply chains?

RFID is an AIDC technology which offers contactless, wireless identification and data collection. It uses a radio frequency system of RFID tags, antennae and RFID Readers to emit and receive radio signals.

In supply chains, RFID can increase asset visibility by use of UHF RFID tags.  Tracking status, real time monitoring and position of the asset is one of the major requirements for businesses to become industry 4.0 ready. No matter where you are in the supply chain (manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, e-commerce shipper etc.), your customers want visibility into their order, its location and progress towards delivery.

RFID can be used to accurately identify case packed inventory without opening the box manually, it can also track mobile assets within the facility (say a forklift) or assets in transit over the road.

RFID to meet customer level expectations in industry 4.0

One of the crushing needs of industry 4.0 is to meet customer level expectation which can be achieved by using RFID in businesses to monitor consignment delivery.

Leveraging RFID to identify consignment location and delivery status can fulfil the customer expectations and establishing better client relationships.  With RFID technology in place to support better inter connectivity between each piece of equipment and each facility, transparency can be achieved within the industry 4.0 environment.

Customers want regular updates on their order, its location and delivery status and AIDC technology like RFID can be used to provide the necessary data and utilization of the same to enhance customer experience.

RFID for Digitization of products and services in Industry 4.0:

RFID as an AIDC technology has many advantage over others such as;

• Contactless

• Non line of sight

• Simultaneous gathering of data

• High accuracy

RFID can offer better inter connectivity between facilities by providing  performance trends and overall equipment effectiveness over a time period given data is not just stored in data silos but actually accessible for analysis, passing through  different systems automatically.

It can be used to meet various industry 4.0 requirements such as to track the status, Real time data monitoring and position of product and Service life cycle management as well.

RFID as a building block of smart factories in industry 4.0:

RFID is one of the building blocks of creating smart manufacturing hubs. Rapid implementation of RFID in manufacturing line where asset passes through various stages of production process allows a fast pace processing. Asset tagged with RFID can contain information on what happens next and production units can utilize that data to function better.

Smart factories are a major component of industry 4.0, and RFID can help change how businesses see the manufacturing process itself. With a fast paced manufacturing and completion of the process, supply chain gaps can be reduced and movement of asset can be streamlined.

In the context of smart factories and Industry 4.0, Toro Aluminum provides a compelling case study of RFID implementation. The company started equipped the gates at its outgoing goods area with RFID antennas in March 2023. These antennas detect all windows reaching the outgoing goods area and, based on their IDs, the ERP system creates the delivery bill for the order. If a window not part of the delivery reaches the area, an indicator lamp lights up red, ensuring that only components belonging to the order are loaded. This system has made the entire production process on their assembly lines transparent and controllable, leading to significant time savings, increased safety, and improved control. Furthermore, it has optimized the ordering of spare parts in the after-sales area. This case clearly illustrates how RFID is a major component in enabling the adaptation to Industry 4.0, improving customer expectations by accurately identifying operational needs and enabling automation in manufacturing.

Supply Chains remain a major beneficiary of this technology nonetheless.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Jan 25, 2023
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