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Container management with RFID

Are you tying up too many resources to identify and document your container inventories? Come to us - with years of experience and in-depth knowledge, we are the experts when it comes to optimizing your logistics, warehouse management and maintenance of containers. Our proven container management solutions are based on innovative RFID technology that makes it possible to track containers in real time, manage inventories precisely and automate processes.

We are happy to support you as a professional partner in the following challenges:

  • Too much effort of human resources for manual inventory bookings of containers
  • enormous search times for containers and material
  • frequent finding of the wrong container at the wrong place at the wrong time
  • high capital commitment due to too large a container stock
  • lack of overview of the use of your containers by your customers

We have already successfully implemented these container management projects

Application description

RFID-based container monitoring and detection at loading stations


MAGNA, a manufacturer of plastic components and systems for the automotive industry, optimizes the storage of its manufactured bumpers with RFID solutions from SIGMA. After being painted, the bumpers are placed in storage containers according to type. Here, several RFID readers carefully record and monitor the correct storage in the correct container. The unmixed storage containers are temporarily stored until their final use, with RFID automatically recording and managing the storage position to ensure an optimum overview.
Link: Reference report MAGNA


RFID Reader for container identification


Efficient monitoring of storage and retrieval processes: Thanks to the SIGMA RFID system, the manufacturer of sparkling wine, wine and spirits is able to optimize container management in the company. Finished bottles are married to the adjusted storage container and all relevant production data is stored. By attaching UHF RFID tags to the storage containers, it is possible to recognize the container at defined reading points and thus store its storage location. The system also monitors compliance with a specified storage time and reconciles it during retrieval.

Link: Reference report Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien

Monitoring the time-critical interim storage of components


The introduction of HFQ (Hot Form Quech) technology enables the fischer group to form aluminum alloys in a single step. An RFID-supported track & trace system monitors the time-critical intermediate storage with the help of automatic identification of the components in the container. Thanks to the data matrix code and RFID tags, there is complete traceability from production to the ageing furnace.


RFID Industry 4.0 solution

With the implementation of an Industry 4.0 solution at Ortrander, one of the most modern foundries for machine-molded iron casting, using RFID and real-time location, search times for load containers have been significantly reduced. Containers are now automatically identified using RFID tags that are able to withstand the harsh environmental conditions. The central RFID middleware GRAIDWARE® enables data processing and integration with other systems.

Benefits of container management with RFID

  • Real-time tracking: RFID enables real-time tracking of containers and items. This leads to improved transparency and visibility along the entire supply chain.   Delays and bottlenecks in the supply chain can thus be identified and responded to at an early stage.
  • Time and cost savings: RFID enables fast identification in bulk and tracking of containers without manual effort. This means significant time savings in inventories and in searching for and identifying containers. At the same time, you create space for more personnel resources and save costs.
  • Error reduction: Automatic data capture through RFID minimizes errors that can occur in manual processes. Among other things, this allows you to avoid incorrect container allocations, deliveries or storage placements.
  • Process optimization: Automated processes, such as identifying containers and tracking goods movements, lead to more efficient operations.   Real-time monitoring of container availability reduces idle time and enables efficient planning and use of resources.
  • Data basis for analyses: The collected RFID data on container management provides a valuable basis for analyses and reports that deliver insights into process optimizations.
  • Monitoring of container cleaning cycles and maintenance: RFID enables high-precision monitoring and tracking of your cleaning cycles and maintenance. This allows you to keep an eye on the condition of your containers at all times and to plan and optimize cleaning and maintenance work. This enables you to respond to maintenance needs in good time, reduce downtime, and benefit from cost savings.

How does container management with RFID work?

  • RFID tags: Each container that is to be tracked is fitted with an RFID tag.   This has a unique identifier and further information, such as maximum load, maintenance cycles, content or type, can be stored in the system.
  • RFID reader: The environment in which the containers are tracked is equipped with RFID readers. These RFID readers transmit radio waves via the connected RFID antennas and then receive the responses from the RFID transponders.
  • Data processing: The information from the RFID tag is recorded by the reader and transferred to a software solution. Here, the data is processed and stored in a database.
  • Tracking and management: The data collected enables the containers to be tracked and managed. This allows you to see in real time where the containers are located, how long they have been in one place or which stations they have already passed through.
  • Integration into existing systems: RFID systems can be integrated into the existing IT infrastructure to work seamlessly with other business processes and systems.

What are RFID solutions for load carrier management used for?

Load carrier and order tracking

Locating containers and orders is a major challenge for many companies. By means of adequate load carrier tracking and identification, search times and disruptions in the production process can be reduced to a minimum. The use of RFID solutions for container management makes a decisive contribution to eliminating search processes and also provides the company with decision-relevant information.


Other features:

  • Visualization of your own warehouses
  • Container search and presentation of the location
  • Display of container contents and information
  • Display of batches and orders (overview of all orders in one area)

Your advantages

  • Current overview of containers and orders in the system
  • Effortless localization of containers in the workshop
  • Continuous monitoring and optimization of container movements
  • Storage location optimization of parts required for orders
Positioning in the container

Our solution enables you to monitor objects in your warehouse, even inside containers. When objects are stored or retrieved, the position of the handling unit is determined with its x-y coordinates via RTLS real-time positioning. At the same time, objects are identified using RFID, NFC, barcode, QR code or DataMatrix. The actual position is also compared with the target position.


Further functions:

  • Monitoring of critical JIS processes
  • Signal forwarding to RFID middleware GRAIDWARE®
  • Data exchange with third-party system via GRAIDWARE®
  • Visualization of detected objects or identified storage locations

Your advantages:

  • Reduction of your search times
  • Continuous and seamless inventory
  • Bulk reading - identification of multiple parts
  • Process reliability thanks to a high degree of automation
Monitoring of cleaning cycles

Does your industry require containers to be cleaned in regular cycles? With the help of automated RFID tracking, we enable fully automatic cycle monitoring and therefore reliable compliance with the necessary cleaning cycles. Thanks to RFID, the container circulation at each airlock can be documented fully automatically and its use prevented if it is exceeded.

Further functions:

  • Documentation of the process parameters to which the containers are exposed during cleaning
  • Batch tracing

Your advantages:

  • Warning function for process deviations
  • Data basis for replenishment and planning
  • Quality assurance through avoidance of n.i.O. parts

SIGMA app for maintenance tasks

To optimize your container management, we have developed a mobile application with which you can optimize your expenses for maintenance, modernization, servicing and blocking and minimize costs. Maintenance tasks, servicing and optimization measures are recorded, carried out and clearly displayed with the app.

Benefit from:

  • a clear container overview
  • a clear container search through grouping and filtering
  • traceable maintenance
  • individually adjustable time intervals for recurring maintenance
  • the integration of optimization measures
  • easy blocking and releasing of containers

How to overcome production and logistics challenges with automated container management

RFID along the supply chain

Incoming goods
  • In the incoming goods department, containers marked with RFID are automatically recorded as empties, booked in the ERP system and the customer account is credited with the returned containers. Seamless integration into the company software enables automatic bookings to be made in the ERP system.
  • Defective or damaged containers are sent for repair or cleaning.
  • Automatic material flow postings are made possible by reloading the delivered goods into their own RFID-tagged load carriers.
Empties warehouse
  • All containers are recorded and permanently tracked by RFID gates in the empties warehouse on entry or exit. This allows you to monitor stock levels in real time and gives you complete transparency about your stocks.
  • The combination of RFID and tracking technologies gives you knowledge of the exact location of the bins.
  • Production benefits from a constant flow of information. The storage location, current status and availability of a container are always transparent. This ensures that the right containers with the required materials always reach the production process.
  • With knowledge of container types and their available quantities, reliable planning for production supply can be easily realized.
  • In production, order and product information can be assigned directly to the containers on systems.
  • Tracking the movements of the containers enables precise order tracking.
  • RFID technology enables precise process control during the execution of work processes (routings).
  • The continuous collection of data on container movements enables detailed reports to be generated on order throughput times.
  • The location, number and status of all containers in the warehouse are always transparent. RFID recording takes place at central points such as the entrance gate. Automatic recording ensures 100% stock reliability so that delivery reliability can be guaranteed.
  • RFID makes it possible to monitor storage strategies such as FIFO (First In - First Out) or LIFO (Last In - First Out).
  • It is easy to monitor storage or rest periods for items that have to be stored temporarily for a certain time or have a best-before date.
Outgoing goods
  • Each container is automatically recorded and booked, which means that there is always complete transparency as to which containers are available again after the loading process.
  • Customer accounts are debited with the containers delivered, with documentation of which customer uses which number of containers.
  • During loading, the system automatically records which containers are linked to which order.
  • The system checks whether the correct goods have been loaded in the correct quantity.

Container types and labeling options

Container type

How is the labeling done?

Duration of labeling

On-Metal or Non-Metal

Hard tag or label

Number of tags

Mesh box

With attachment bag or screw fastening

Permanently recommended



2 - 4

Euro pallet

By gluing

Permanent or temporary (mostly temporary)


PET or vinyl label


Large load carrier

By gluing

Permanent or temporary

Depending on the material


2 - 4

Small load carrier

By gluing or inserting pockets

Permanent or temporary

Depending on the material, mostly non-metal



ESD container

By gluing


ESD-compatible RFID transponders


2 - 4

Plastic pallet

By gluing

Permanent or temporary




Metal container

By gluing or screwing



Hardtag, On-Metal-RFID-Label

2 - 4

Integration of RFID-based container management into your existing IT system

ERP systems

An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is used to integrate and optimize all of a company's operational processes. It enables comprehensive management of resources such as finances, personnel, materials and information to ensure efficient processes, better decision-making and a holistic view of the company's activities. Through centralized data storage, an ERP system promotes transparency and collaboration in different departments.

  • Automated data capture: RFID enables automated data capture, for example, when containers enter and exit the system. In the next step, our RFID middleware GRAIDWARE® guarantees smooth data exchange with your ERP system (e.g. SAP Business One, Infor LN, Infor Baan IV, Sage, Navision / Dynamics NAV and many more). This makes it easy to monitor the current location, contents and status of containers.


A warehouse management system (WMS) is used to efficiently control and optimize warehouse processes. It enables the precise tracking of stock levels, the planning of storage space utilization, the optimization of picking processes and the improvement of overall warehouse management performance to ensure smooth logistics operations. By automating tasks, a WMS helps to minimize errors and increase efficiency in warehouses.

  • Real-time data flow: Thanks to the integration of RFID technology into a WMS, stock levels and movements can be recorded and tracked in real time. The unique identification of warehouse items is made possible by attaching RFID tags, which are read by RFID readers and the information is transferred to the WMS.
  • Automation and optimization: The seamless connection enables the automation and optimization of your warehouse processes. The WMS always has precise information on the location and stock of the items.
  • Efficient inventory management: With the help of accurate data on stock levels, you can carry out efficient inventory management and ensure that your warehouse is always optimally stocked. It also enables faster order processing and improved traceability of goods.

Link with forklift guidance system:

A forklift guidance system is used to optimize the use of forklifts in warehouses. It controls and monitors the movements of forklift trucks, optimizes routes, minimizes empty runs and thus improves overall efficiency in the warehouse. Thanks to precise control, it helps to reduce operating costs and improve the safety of forklift truck operations.

  • Seamless integration: RFID is integrated into your forklift guidance system by attaching RFID tags to the containers to be transported and installing RFID readers on the forklifts. Tagged objects are automatically identified when they are picked up by the forklift truck.
  • Effective data collection: The attached RFID readers enable the tags to be read and the information to be transferred to your forklift control system.
  • Location tracking and control: Use this information to track the location of your load carriers and control their movements in a targeted manner. In this way, you not only optimize forklift operations, but also improve the efficiency, accuracy and transparency of your warehouse management as a whole.
  • Optimized routing: The forklift guidance system can precisely determine the current location of load carriers and goods and suggest the most efficient route for the forklift to pick them up. This reduces driving distances and minimizes idle times.

High-bay warehouse

With the help of a high-bay warehouse, storage capacities can be maximized and space requirements minimized.  High-bay warehouses enable efficient use of space and systematic storage, making it easier to access goods. This makes them particularly important for companies with large inventories.

  • Automated storage location recognition: RFID technology can be integrated into a high-bay warehouse to automate storage location recognition and improve warehousing efficiency. By using RFID tags at the storage locations and on the objects to be stored, these can be automatically recognized and linked to each other. This enables precise management of the storage bins and avoids incorrect storage.
  • Automatic cross-checking: When a storage bin is specified by a WMS, RFID technology enables an automatic cross-check of the recognized storage bin in order to avoid incorrect storage.
  • Booking information for third-party systems:  RFID integration enables the generation and transfer of booking information to third-party business systems such as SAP WMS. This creates a seamless connection between your warehouse management and other business processes.

IT infrastructure

The IT infrastructure forms the backbone of an organization and enables its information technology to function smoothly. It comprises networks, servers, storage systems and software that work together to store, process and transfer data. A well-designed IT infrastructure is crucial for the efficiency, security and scalability of IT systems in companies.

  • Integration of RFID devices:    In order to integrate RFID technology into your existing IT infrastructure, the required RFID devices are cleverly integrated into your network and provided with the appropriate interfaces. These interfaces make it possible to forward RFID data to the middleware and other applications.
  • Effortless middleware integration with GRAIDWARE®: The GRAIDWARE® middleware can be installed on your existing server. You can find the system requirements here.
  • Flexible use of mobile applications:   Mobile applications can access the existing WLAN or work with data buffering if required.

FAQ - the most frequently asked questions about container management

A container should be provided with at least 2 transponders, as this greatly increases the reading reliability and even a damaged transponder on a container does not immediately result in the container no longer being recognized at RFID detection points. In some cases, it is also necessary to tag a container with four transponders. This is especially true if it cannot be guaranteed in which orientation the container will be moved at the RFID detection point.

Depending on whether the containers are made of metal or plastic and on the quantity purchased, the cost of a transponder is between €0.50 and €6. At €0.50 to €1.50, marking plastic containers is significantly cheaper than permanently marking metal containers at €1 to €6.

A container can be linked with information such as content, order, etc. by means of RFID handheld. The RFID tag can be read and barcodes from accompanying documents can be scanned. In addition, further information can also be recorded via a handheld app.
If RFID transponders themselves also have a printed QR code or barcode, then standard 1D or 2D scanners or smartphones and other mobile devices can also be used to call up data on the container or link it to the container.

We prefer to store only a unique ID on the RFID transponders and to store all other information required for tracking or other processes on the server in the GRAIDWARE® database. This makes it impossible for third parties to derive or obtain information from the RFID tag.

The range that can be achieved with RFID depends on the transponder and the selected UHF RFID antennas. Depending on the application and requirements, read ranges of 2 to 8 m can be achieved. A longer range is possible, but it must be taken into account that it is difficult to filter out irrelevant RFID tags.

In principle, RFID can be used for all types of containers as long as they can be fitted with an RFID tag. However, it should be noted that the material of the container is of decisive importance for the choice of a suitable transponder.

Viktor Wagner - Consultant Digitalisierung