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1 - Why RFID?

F.C.S Solutions has already successfully tested the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, that is the automatic identification system using radio frequency to detect physical objects.
Its high functionality and versatility allow to overcome the limits of the solutions previously adopted for labelling and traceability.
This explains the reasons for its success, confirmed by the endless possibilities of application in sectors such as::
  • production and logistics automation
  • traceability for any production process
  • access and ticketing control
  • food traceability
  • anti-counterfeit
  • data collection and transmission in "hostile" environments

2 - Advantages of the RFID technology

Just think of what a powerful advantage it could be for the sales staff always knowing exactly where the materials are as well as their processing condition.
It would enable them to provide customers with timely and reliable information. Moreover, the identification of the single slabs thanks to the UHF tags by using handheld industrial computers allows to reserve the material directly "on-site" together with the end customer simply checking its condition ("sold" or "reserved").

Advantages of RFID Technology

  • No contact between reading system and RFID tags:
    it avoids the problems arising from wear and, most of all, it provides a quick and unequivocal reading.
  • Performances not affected by environmental factors (dust, mud, grease, noise, etc…):
    tags can be read even though they are covered with external agents.
  • Automatic tag reading on the production lines:
    it eliminates the manual process, minimizing errors and operating costs.
  • Multi-reading of several tags:
    it reduces operational time and enables speed reading, yet providing highly secure standards.
  • Possibility of data storage and modification inside the tag:
    each tag contains quantities of data varying according to the kind of chip used.
  • Lack of moving parts and maintenance for both tags and readers:
    it provides a more reliable structure and a significant decrease in maintenance costs.

Blocks management - Labelling

    Drastic time reduction:
  • - 90% for the blocks inventory
    from 35/40 man/hours to 3-4 man/hours on site - tested with 8000 blocks
  • - 93% for the integration with the management information system
    from 15 days to 1 day for the real and storage data reconciliation - tested with 8000 blocks

Blocks management - Blocks sawing

  • Loading, unloading and production reports
  • Minimizing paper documents printing and exchange with time saving and elimination of transcription as well as compiling errors
  • Quick labelling system: less than ten minutes to identify the slabs of 1 line containing more than 200 slabs
  • he slabs' high density PE tags are weather-resistant and have proved to be resistant to most of the slabs finishing processes (polishing, resin-treating, etc…)

Slabs Management - The path of the Slab

  • Easy management of the processing reports
  • Reduction in eventual material-processing association errors
  • Real-time processing state of the slabs
  • Possible automatic association of the slab with its photo
  • Simplified management of the slabs stockyard

Logistics Management - Inventory

  • Drastic reduction in the inventory time thanks to the immediate reading of the code
  • It simply takes to walk among the blocks/slabs with a switched on reader to perform a perfect inventory
  • Incredible increase in precision: data are accurately reported without errors
  • No waste of time for double checking with the management information system: data are instantly checked with those available from the management information system which enables to immediately detect any possible discrepancy.

Logistics Management - Stockyard

  • Flexibility for the sales operations: the sales staff can select the slabs directly "on site" without risk of error
  • User-friendly for the workers employed in the loading operations and for the sales staff: easy traceability of the required slabs
  • Reduction in human error frequency
  • Traceability and availability of the materials

3 - Functioning principles of an RFID system

The object to be identified is labeled with a tag containing a microchip whose internal memory can store all data concerning the object as well as an identification code unique to each such tag.
While it gets near to the controller, the antenna generates a magnetic field activating the tag and reads the unique identification code; all data stored are transmitted to the central system.. Tags can be classified as "active" (emitting electromagnetic waves) or "passive" (requiring an external electromagnetic field stimulation); in particular, the passive tags we use have an UHF frequency (between 869 and 915 MHz).
  • Labeling:
    glues are the result of a research-based selection made in cooperation with Henkel Loctite Adesivi Srl
  • Slabs Automatic reading:
    RFID system implemented in cooperation with RFID Global by Softwork

4 - RFID system components

Systems using RFID technology typically consist of the following components:
  • Tag:
    also known as "RFID labels"; they are objects containing data in a microchip.
  • Antenna:
    communicating with tag and controller.
  • Controller:
    communicating via radio frequency and working as interface with the external world; it can be integrated with the computer or the antenna.
  • Computer:
    (palmtop, portable or stationary) elaborating, storing as well as visualizing data that later on can be sent to a central system for integration in the company's database.
These components can be integrated with other "optional items" building the RFID technological infrastructure such as industrial premises cabling, the wireless coverage of storage and manufacturing building areas as well as customized data storage structures, etc.

The application has been implemented in cooperation with RFID Global by Softwork, the Italian leading company in the RFID technology area