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The Impact of RFID Technology on the Automotive Industry

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Feb 29, 2024
  • RFID
RFID Technology in the Automotive Industry

Automotive industries are a necessary part of any developed society, many people drive cars daily. Whether it is to go to work or buy some groceries, the use of vehicles in India has risen from 53 to 225 cars per 1000 people in two decades. The demand for automobiles has never been higher, and it is on arise. As more people improve on the economic scale, they will be able to afford cars. This means that the automobile industry will need to keep up with the rising demands, one way to improve productivity is by using RFID technology. So, today we will discuss the impact of RFID Technology on the Automotive Industry.

RFID Technology Compatible with Automotive Industry

Automotive industries may use different types of tags on different components, at different stages of production. For example, tags used during manufacturing will need to withstand high temperatures & a rugged environment, while tags during other parts of the supply chain may need a bigger range, etc. So, let’s see all the types of tags that are used in the automotive industry.

RFID Hard Tags

These tags are used primarily during the manufacturing process in environments with extreme temperatures and pressures. Hard tags have a protective hard shell around the RFID inlay, this allows them a great degree of protection from outside elements. They are made to provide accurate asset tracking in such environments, like – Long Range Metal Hard Tag and Anti-Metal Hard Tag.

Mount On-Metal Tags

As the name suggests, these tags are specifically tailored to perform on metal surfaces. Metals have been known to create distortions & detuning of RFID signals, especially ultra-high frequency signals. This happens due to the induction of eddy currents and the ability of a metal surface to reflect radio signals. To help with this, manufacturers have designed these tags.

(A). Screw Embedded Tag

(B). PCB On- Metal Tag

Pallet Tags

For those of you who don’t know, pallets are the little stands that are used to transport materials throughout the supply chain. They can be made of wood, but in automobile industries, we use steel pallets. You can use RFID technology to track the movement of a specific pallet throughout the assembly line & further. A pallet tag can hold information about the item that the pallet is carrying, its model number, manufacturing date, etc.

(A). Rugged RFID Pallet Tag

(B). Mini Pallet Tag

Flexi On-Metal Tags

Unlike the mount on-metal, these tags are not made of ceramic or metal. They are not rigid and require very less space to apply. However, like their counterpart, they are also resistant to damage like moisture, scratches, chemicals & extreme temperatures. Their flexibility allows them to be successfully mounted on curved surfaces.

(A). On-Metal Soft Label

(B). Flexible Anti-Metal Tag

Active Tags

All the tags we talked about before were passive RFID tags. The difference between an active & passive RFID system is that an active tag broadcasts signals using its power supply. Whilst a passive tag transmits data by backscattering the reader’s signals. Active tags usually have a far larger read range due to their signals having more power. You can use active tags on items that are more valuable like engines and need to be tracked inside a large premises.

Bluetooth Low-Emission (BLE) Beacons

These are a type of active tags; however, they are known for being extremely energy efficient. As the name suggests, they communicate by broadcasting low-frequency Bluetooth signals. Their range is not in the upper limit of active tags, but they have the advantage of operational lifespan & being invulnerable to metal surfaces. BLE Tags/Beacons are making a quick overhaul in the automotive industry.

(A). Long Range Beacon

(B). M2 Tracking Beacon

Benefits of Using RFID Technology in the Automotive Industry

In complex industries like automotive, it is essential to carefully monitor and manage every little aspect of production. Failing to do so, can result in losses and additional incurred costs. RFID technology works very well in these situations, they help an automotive supply chain perform smoothly, by:

Manage Incoming Materials

Before the beginning of any sort of manufacturing or production, it is a must to arrange raw materials. Suppliers generally tag the components & materials before shipping them to the manufacturers. This allows the receiving of materials very efficient. Through the use of digital manifests & RFID integrated ERP systems, manufacturers can improve shipping accuracy & initiate refunds in case of shipping errors. This allows both ends of the supply chain to work smoothly.

Locate Items in Staging Area

A staging area refers to a place on your premises where the components are kept before production begins. It is easy to misplace materials/components in the staging area due to the sheer volume of items. But, by implementing RFID, you can easily track components throughout the staging area, this protects the cost and saves time.

Automate the Management of Non-Conforming Materials

Defects in the manufacturing process and errors in shipping are a fact that you cannot avoid. This is due to factors like wear & tear, improper maintenance, impurities, and human error. Such materials are known as non-conforming materials (NCM), as they do not conform to the industry standards. NCM can cause delays in supply chains as it takes time to identify, complaint & resolve such issues. The average time to resolve an NCM issue can take anywhere from 10 to 30 days. With the help of RFID, OEMs can cut down this time to 1 to 2 days, by automating material identification and communicating data about defective materials at the time of investigation.

Streamlines Production

A supply chain is like a tightly synchronized clock, where all the items must be at the right place at the right time. This becomes difficult in widespread production lines, so manufacturers use RFID tags & readers to allow the lines to work in coordination. This is especially true for large manufacturers that source parts from multiple supply chains. With RFID, you can make sure that all the components are accessible at the time of need throughout the production line, decreasing redundancies & delays.

Component Verification

Automobile production lines are highly complicated due to the diverse variety of components that go into each unit. This becomes an even bigger problem in custom/specialized vehicles like ambulances & armored vehicles. As these vehicles use a lot of custom components that are not used in the standard units. By implementing RFID for asset identification & tracking, manufacturers can easily identify these components & match them to the right chassis.

Re-Work Management

Even after a unit is finished production, there are instances where you can find defects and may need to perform repairs or customizations. However, it can become very difficult to manually locate & identify a particular unit amongst a whole array of similar products. This is where RFID can help you, as it allows you to locate the correct unit by reading its VIN and matching the correct component with it.

Disadvantages of RFID in the Automotive Sector

Although there are tremendous advantages to implementing RFID systems in the manufacturing industry, there is also a different side to the story. Like every system, RFID has an initial installation cost. RFID readers are mostly a one-time cost; however, tags need to be restocked periodically. This may increase the production cost in the short term.

Another issue with RFID is training, even though manufacturers & designers try to make the RFID software very user-friendly. Still, you will need to train your employee on how to use these software & properly mount RFID tags on the components.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the impact of RFID system?

Ans. RFID has had a great impact on a variety of industries, be it manufacturing, retail, warehousing, or healthcare. RFID systems are applicable throughout the supply chain. They allow automated asset identification & tracking.

Q2. What is the positive impact of RFID?

Ans. RFID tags are usually implemented to provide support with asset tracking & identification. The positive impact of RFID is that it automates & provides greater accuracy with these tasks.

Q3. What is RFID technology used in FASTag?

Ans. FASTag is vehicle tracking RFID tags used to automate tool booths throughout India. They are usually used all along the National Highway system. The tag needs to have a long operational lifespan and a read range of 20 meters. Thus, FASTag employs the use of passive RFID technology.

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  • Created on Apr 27, 2023
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