AutoID / RFID
MAGNA Exteriors & Interiors Meerane

MAGNA Exteriors & Interiors

Part tracking with UHF technology

When planning and designing the new location, MEI Meerane's management decided to use RFID ( Radio-Frequency Identification ) technology throughout for automated production and logistics control. Recorded data from the individual production steps are stored via the AutoID middleware GRAIDWARE ® and from there made available to other third-party systems, such as ERP or WMS systems.

This enables a real-time overview of the current production status. This allows  complete tracking and identification of parts throughout the entire production and logistics process. Statistical surveys serve to optimise production, avoid complaints and thus optimise costs. Many time-consuming work steps, such as the manual recording of conventional barcodes, are eliminated. This leads to a significant reduction of process times and thus process costs.

The Process

Immediately after injection moulding, the raw parts are marked with unique RFID tags and managed in the software. This allows to clearly identify and track the bumper throughout the entire production and logistics process.

Prior to painting, the position of the bumpers within a rack is recognized by a reader and recorded by the middleware. This serves to track the production quality. After the painting process, all process data of the painting system are automatically transferred to the bumper linked.

The bumpers are then placed in storage containers according to type. Here, several RFID readers record and monitor the correct storage in the correct container. The AutoID middleware GRAIDWARE ® not only records the signals, but also checks them for plausibility using complex algorithms. Interfering signals from adjacent transport routes or passing forklifts are thus recognized and filtered out as false signals. The single-variety storage containers that have been checked in this way are stored temporarily until the final retrieval, whereby storage position is automatically recorded and managed.

After the final production call, the bumpers are equipped with cable harnesses, distance sensors, fog lamps, etc., depending on the equipment. Here, the RFID tag takes over control of the machines via an OPC server **, displays the upcoming production step, the equipment, etc. and loads the corresponding machine program to perform welding or punching work. In case of wrong loading or wrong selection of a machine by the operator, the operator receives a warning message. Only after explicit confirmation by the operator the corresponding machine can be started. This prevents operating errors and reduces complaints. Once this production step and the quality check has been completed, the bumper is placed on the appropriate rack for Just-In-Sequence delivery to the customer. Finally, the position of the bumpers on the frame is checked, as this is necessary for the further production at the customer is decisive.

Advantages of the solution

Captured data from the individual production steps are stored via the AutoID middleware GRAIDWARE ® and made available from there to other third-party systems, such as ERP or WMS systems. This enables a real-time overview of the current production status. By applying the tags to components ( bumpers ), the complete tracking and identification of the parts throughout the entire product development process up to shipping is possible. In addition, statistical values from production can also be determined. These data and statistical surveys can be used to optimise production, avoid complaints and thus optimise costs. Faulty scans due to manual operating errors, such as when using barcode solutions, are avoided. New employees can be trained more quickly as a result. Many time-consuming work steps, such as the manual capture of conventional barcodes, are eliminated. This leads to a significant reduction of process times and thus process costs.

Reaching the goal on time and within budget

The nomination of SIGMA Chemnitz GmbH as implementation partner for the UHF RFID solution was based on the convincing overall concept for implementation. As supplier of the RFID hardware, Hans Turck GmbH & Co. KG was chosen as supplier of the RFID hardware, as the offered hardware best met the requirements for industrial production operations. The inquiry for the RFID implementation was made in May 2011, in July 2011 kick-off for the project with creation of the specification sheet took place and in December 2011 the project implementation started. To ensure smooth implementation of the solution, a project team was formed with all the companies involved, which took over project-management and was responsible for ensuring that it was completed on time and within budget.

RFID Processes at MAGNA
The film shows the processes at MAGNA Meerane, which were realized with the help of UHF RFID.
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So says our client ...
"We are very pleased with this solution. We were able to start production on time and our processes are running faultlessly. By eliminating costly work steps, we have achieved a significant improvement in process times".
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