Reference video KWS: Europe-wide tracing of seed bags
KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies with a company history of more than 160 years. The headquarters are located in Einbeck, Lower Saxony. Main business of the parent companies of the KWS Group is plant breeding as well as production and sale of corn, sugar beet, cereal, rape, sunflower and vegetable seed.
Decision for RFID and UHF technology
Seed producer KWS has long been planning to design its supply chain to be as transparent as possible. Fully automated identification at bag level is decisive in this regard. Due to its advantages, UHF RFID technology has clearly prevailed over bar, data matrix and QR codes.
The data collection itself is done centrally in Einbeck, where the middleware GRAIDWARE prepares the data at the individual locations and transmits it encrypted to the central database in Einbeck.
Each seed sack is equipped with an UHF RFID transponder. This enables the bags to be clearly identified during filling at the production site. After filling, the sacks are automatically palletized by the filling plant. The GRAIDWARE middleware picks up data from the machine and creates a virtual pallet with the counted bags. At the end of the filling line, the created container receives a container label. At this moment, the GRAIDWARE marries all product and container information with the individual bags on the pallet. From this point on, the seed sack is no longer anonymous.
Logistics companies are used to ship the containers to the end customers. Some of these companies have to tear open the containers and reassemble them. In order to ensure both the new container and the composition with the individual, clearly identifiable bags, all bags on a pallet must be identified. This is done when the newly assembled pallet is wrapped by the specially developed logistics solution with several RFID readers and a display. This is also, where the bags are married to the order data and assigned to delivery note information.
The GRAIDWARE instances at the individual locations transfer all RFID and container data via encrypted connections to the central database at the headquarters in Einbeck. The SIGMA solution is currently successfully in use at a total of 18 locations in France, Germany, Serbia, Ukraine and Slovakia. These include ten production and seven logistics locations and the headquarters in Einbeck.
Advantages of the solution
- standardized hardware solution ( readers, racks, cabling, software applications )
- standardized interface for communication with packaging machines ( OPC UA server )
- standardized data transfer to central database while meeting the highest data protection standards ( certificates, https etc. )
- standardized interface for SAP communication
- Use of BI software ( MS Power BI ) for reporting and evaluation
During the entire integration process, particular attention was paid to ensuring that the production and logistics locations would not incur any additional expense due to the system.
Initially, different pre-qualifications were carried out in different scenarios in order to be able to perform bulk readings of the dozens of RFID labels on the seed bags on a pallet. This was followed by a pilot project at a logistics company.
In the next and very important step, production sites were equipped with our RFID technology so that every sack and every pallet could already be recorded during the filling process. A logistics solution was also set up to be able to record both full and picked pallets during shipping.