Lassila & Tikanoja is a service company that aims to transform the consumer society into an efficient recycling society. In co-operation with their customers L&T is, among other things, reducing waste volumes, recovering materials and decreasing the use of raw materials and energy. With operations in Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Russia, L&T employs 9000 persons. In 2012, net sales amounted to EUR 674 million.
Suomen Palautuspakkaus Oy (“PALPA ”) is a non-profit organisation owned by retail trade and breweries. It administers and develops deposit-based systems for beverage containers in Finland. This deposit system is a voluntary recycling arrangement, to which brewers and importers can join as an alternative to a beverage packaging tax system.
In 2012 PALPA’s responsibility in recycling was significantly expanded, as it came available for the consumers to return also all one-way glass bottles to any collection point already existing for cans and pet-bottles in the whole retail sale network. This change increased the number of collection points from 350 to nearly 5000 collection points deployed to retail sale network in Finland. Within this change, also the quantity of containers, which are utilised for transporting glass bottles to processing centres, more than doubled. L&T was selected as the glass processing service provider, including containers and their tracking system for deposit system purposes agreed with PALPA.
Vilant was selected as a provider of RFID-system capable to identify RFID-tagged containers at L&T processing centres and to provide reports and operational data for the bins deposit and management system.
Lassila & Tikanoja decided to improve their processes through automation with RFID. They selected Vilant’s RFID Asset Tracking solution. It included tagging all of their containers used for transporting glass bottles with RFID tags, the installation of fixed RFID gates to Kerava plant and handheld devices to other processing centres. RFID gates and handheld readers are used to track bins receiving and sending processes and to give real-time updates to the RFID tracking server software. The implementation was carried out in two phases. It was delivered in seven locations, of which Kerava, Oulu and Jyväskylä are L&T’s own processing centres and Tampere, Turku, Lahti and Kuopio that are owned by Paperinkeräys.
- 25 000 containers were tagged with Gen2 UHF hard tags.
- RFID handhelds for reading RFID tags were taken into use in all locations.
- In Kerava’s processing centre were installed three fully equipped Vilant’s Smart gate readers, enclosure for dock doors. They were equipped with touch screen interface for user interaction.
- Vilant’s Visibility Manager with web interface was installed.
- Breweries and retail traders were integrated into the system so that they are now able to start ordering the bins online through Vilant Visibility Manager, or send orders as EDI-message or as PDF-document attached to the email message.
- At the same time, the system shows producers how many empty bins are available for ordering in each location.
- When ordering, breweries and retail traders receive automatic email confirmations of the confirmed bin quantities and are able to track the status of their orders.
- The system enables them to place also return loads to L&T.
- The system becomes a common database for the producers, L&T and PALPA.
- Improved customer service that leads to increased customer satisfaction.
- Efficient and accurate logistics process through automation resulting in better use of existing resources.
- Efficient asset management and optimised asset usage with permanent inventory and ad-hoc reporting.
- Automated deposit calculation based on actual usage.
- Long-life and maintenance-free system with passive UHF Gen2 tags – no battery replacement needed.
Vilant has been one of the key contributors in creating the new GS1 guideline on how to identify rail assets when using passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – ISO 18000- 6C passive UHF RFID tags. Rail assets include goods wagons, passenger cars and locomotives as well as parts for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). The guidelines will help operators and infrastructure managers to maximize the benefits of RFID and enable all actors to take advantage of the technology.
The increase of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) usage in Europe has also increased the need for a numbering scheme especially as rail assets cross the country borders. Failure to use a cross border standard would mean that an infrastructure manager would have to allow for different types of readers to be put on the trackside and a vehicle passing different countries would have to have different tags to suit each country.
As vehicles cross the national borders cargo owners would like to know how their goods are progressing across the continent. For maintenance purposes, infrastructure owners would like to get information about the vehicles that are rolling on their tracks so as to enable maintenance and inform the owner and/or operator of the vehicle if there are problems. This might be the case if a vehicle is taken out of service or if there are delays. Last but not least, train operators would like to know where their vehicles are, their train formations and to update their maintenance records even when maintenance has been done by a third party. It is therefore not surprising that the use of RFID in Europe is increasing as the technology is seen as a cost effective way to satisfy these requirements.
Vilant offers a complete, proven and robust solution based on standard Gen2 RFID that answers the needs of operators and infrastructure managers. It includes all the needed RFID hardware, software for combining and analyzing the data as well as specialized services. Companies can achieve better productivity and improve rolling stock management, safety and services.
Recently, Vilant completed the rollout of world’s first full-scale Gen2 RFID system for VR Transpoint. This included the installation of Gen2 RFID tags to 11 000 wagons and integration of over 300 RFID handheld readers into a centrally managed IT system for automating VR’s logistic processes.
Vilant is also working with Finnish Transport Agency (FTA) on what will be Europe’s largest train identification system with passive RFID covering the whole of Finnish state rail network. Vilant will install 120 specialized RFID Reader Units and integrate them into FTA’s detector network to improve safety and service of operations on Finnish railroads.
Currently, Vilant has 14 different rail customers in Europe.
About the Guideline
The guideline has been developed by GS1 in Europe with the help of key rail actors in Europe including railway infrastructure managers, train operators, components manufacturers, rail industry bodies and solution providers involved in RFID railway implementations. For detailed information on using RFID on railway applications please refer to the GS1’s European Guideline for the Identification of Railway Assets using GS1 Standards.
Vilant specializes in turnkey RFID information systems for railway, logistics and manufacturing companies providing the entire RFID system – RFID software, RFID hardware and related services. At Vilant we have a clear commitment to fast return on investment and exceptionally high business ethics. We won’t accept projects that don’t bring benefits to the customer. Vilant takes full responsibility of the entire implementation project offering the customer a single point of contact.
As one of the leading suppliers in Europe, Vilant has delivered installations to over 600 different sites in 30 countries. Vilant customers include large companies such as Nokia, ABB, Volvo and VR Transpoint that all have received great benefits from RFID through improved asset visibility and more efficient material flow in supply chain. Vilant is among Europe’s fastest growing companies with 444% growth over the past 5 years.
Jernbaneverket is responsible for owning and maintaining the Norwegian railway network, including the tracks, stations, traffic management, timetables and classification yards. All tracks in Norway total of 4,114 kilometers, of which 2,552 kilometers are electrified. The railways transport around 56,827,000 passengers and 24,783,000 tons of cargo in one year.
The increasing amount of traffic and demands for reliability and efficiency create challenges to improve the capacity and safety of the railway tracks. In Norway especially, where most of the railways are single track, any disruptions in traffic have high compound effects. Due to this, as well as, regulatory demand to increase safety, Jernbaneverket is investing on automatic wayside condition monitoring for rolling stock.
Jernbaneverket is investing more in the network of hot box and wheel impact load detectors (HABD & WILD) that are measuring devices installed along the railway at the tracksides. These monitor wheel and axle bearing temperatures and dynamic forces, indicating faults in the components, and send the information to the central monitoring office. In order to take full advantage of this advanced system, Jernbaneverket needs to link the identity of vehicle and wheel to the measurement data. This enables fast action in case of any alerts, and also preventive measures before the faults becomes critical. Preventive maintenance of developing faults eliminates traffic stops on the tracks due to critical faults in rolling stock. RFID solution from Vilant automates vehicle identity information collection and linking to measurement data – enabling advanced prediction of maintenance need.
Jernbaneverket has started to utilize UHF-based RFID system provided by Vilant and the pilot will continue during this year. This is helping them to gather experiences and prepare for a full scale RFID deployment. Vilant was selected as the RFID partner by Jernbaneverket because of the extensive experience and proven track record in this field.
“We need a system that collects wagon identity automatically and merges that with hot box detector information and thereby allows us to take full advantage of the information from the detectors. We are looking forward to a successful pilot and future deployment of RFID technology in Norway, especially because we know that the RFID-based system is already working well in Finland,” says Egil Røyseth, Senior Officer at Jernbaneverket.
The pilot consists of Vilant Railway Reader Units (RRU) and Vilant railway middleware solution for monitoring, maintenance and information merging. Vilant Railway Reader Unit is based on ISO 18000-6C UHF RFID (Gen2) and is engineered to fulfill tough railway requirements both out- and indoors. It detects tagged and non-tagged cars, determining their passing orders, directions and speeds up to 250km/h with fixed or mobile connectivity (3G/GPRS) for back-end communication.
All the information from the Railway Reader Unit is sent to Vilant Train Analyzer in real-time, enabling the tracking and monitoring of the trains in real-time. Vilant Device Manager ensures 24/7 that all devices are working properly, with the right configurations and latest software.
The UHF tag used is Confidex Ironside™. It’s a rugged Gen2 compliant passive on-metal tag for harsh conditions, and thus very suitable for railway applications.
- Real time monitoring of rolling stock for accurate tracking and identification of the traffic on Norwegian railroads.
- Full exploitation of the data registered by the wayside condition monitoring systems, which enables preventive maintenance for improved safety of railway operations. For example, it links alert data accurately to the right wheel, wagon and train. Therefore, the component can be replaced before it breaks.
- Enables database formation and sharing of data with operators and the owners of the rolling stock, providing better service for operators. In addition to condition monitoring, the system provides accurate location and train composition information.
- Offers close to 100% accurate information system, even in remote locations.
Vilant Systems is the leader of RFID technology in railways. Our RFID solutions for rail are in use by 12 different customers throughout Europe. In Finland, the system is in full production use by VR Transpoint in logistics and Finnish Transport Agency that manages the Finnish railway network. All wagons in Finland are tagged with RFID according to GS1 guidelines for railways.
The end goal of these several RFID projects is for all rolling stocking in Europe to be tagged with RFID and for all railway tracks to have compatible reading equipment.
Ahlsell is a leading and fast growing Nordic trading company of installation products, tools and machinery. It offers a wide range of products and services to professional users in the segments of heating, plumbing, electrical tools and machinery, refrigeration and DIY (do it yourself). Ahlsell suppliers are found in 250 locations in 6 countries. The group has an annual turnover of around 2,5 billion euros and 4,500 employees.
Each year Ahlsell delivers 5.5 million parcels in Sweden – a considerable volume with high demands on precision, punctuality and efficiency in logistics. Ahlsell needed a solution that helped them to keep track of assets and utilize automated loading control. The previous barcode solution used by Ahlsell’s logistics was slow and could not enable enough control for such volumes. As a result, the company started looking for a more advanced solution that would support high volumes with more accuracy and further automation of the processes.
After using internal solutions for a long time, Ahlsell chose to try something external. The specific RFID solution that Ahlsell chose was delivered by Vilant and included hardware, software and installation. The automation and efficiency that this system provides, facilitates the handling of large volumes in a controlled manner.
Each of Ahlsell’s plastic containers and metal racks is now tagged with robust UHF RFID tags. RFID tags attached to the freight carriers contain a returnable asset identifier developed by GS1, also called a GRAI (Global Returns Asset Identifier) that identifies each load carrier, and makes it easy to follow and track on individual level.
At the loading gates, RFID readers and antennas are installed and the tags on the load carriers are read and verified automatically using Vilant’s software. This enables automatic loading control by identifying all shipped containers and their intended location. If a faulty load carrier passes an RFID gate, the system will trigger a loud sound alarm to eliminate any delivery failure and additional costs.
On the displays at the gates, the truck drivers can see the gate loading window based on the automated loading schedule for each departure. The effects of the system are significant. Last year Ahlsell had 110 boxes sent to wrong destination containing packages to several customers. Since the implementation of the RFID system there has only been one delivery error. Today Ahlsell knows exactly how long each asset has been outside the warehouse and if it’s not returned in time, the carriers have to replace them.
“The solution is working very well and we estimate that pay off time for new system will be lower than one year”, says Daniel Johansson, Head of Logistics in Ahlsell. “The number of errors has reduced dramatically which means that our customer satisfaction has increased and we spent less time resolving issues. Also, load carriers are not lost anymore so we don’t need to purchase as many new ones as we did before.”
Fewer errors and better control and visibility result in:
• Increased customer satisfaction
• Decreased cost for claims
• Decreased freight cost with less delivery errors
• Less manual handling and additional work
• Decreased loss of asset
• Better visibility and traceability – ongoing and historical events
Thrace Polybulk is one of the leading European providers of industrial bulk packaging solutions and also a market leader in Scandinavia in geosynthetics for highway constructions, building industry and private market. Over the recent years, Polybulk’s customers within production, logistics and packaging segments are demanding more and more RFID equipped solutions to improve the efficiency of their logistics processes. This is the main driver behind the partnership with Vilant, a leading RFID solution provider in Europe and number one in Scandinavia.
Polybulk believes that the partnership and the decision to add RFID solutions through Vilant to their product portfolio, is an important step to keep the position as a front runner in advanced logistic solutions within FIBC technology. Both parties are very satisfied with the cooperation as it will strengthen our position in the market. Solutions that integrate RFID offer Polybulk’s customers economical benefits through increased efficiency and automation in their logistics processes.
Valmet Automotive is a leading service provider in automotive engineering, vehicle manufacturing, convertible roof systems and related business services. It serves vehicle-manufacturing customers like Daimler, Fisker Automotive, Garia, THINK and Porsche. The company has produced over 1,100,000 high quality cars, every third of them convertibles. A successful deployment of RFID system for the car painting process by Vilant is now paving the way to Valmet taking RFID into usage for the whole production process. Read full story.
Vilant and Emsys Paper Tracing, a Belgian producer of state-of-art logistic software solutions for the print and paper industry, have entered into partnership. This partnership enables Emsys to introduce RFID technology in combination with its tracking and tracing solutions.
RFID is used more and more in supply chain management to reduce operational cost and increase efficiency. For many years, the paper industry has talked about RFID. Though only now, with the new and cost efficient tag designs available in the market, it has been put back in the spotlight.
Today, new projects have been deployed by pulp producers to track and automate pulp handling. We believe that producers are again looking at the benefits of RFID and its deployment possibilities.
Emsys has always been ready to introduce the RFID reading within their solutions. In partnership with Vilant, Emsys can offer more functionality such as asset tracking, automated logistic process, container localization, tracking and tracing of finished products.
Sandvik is a high tech, engineering group with activities in more than 130 countries and annual sales of more than EUR 11 billion. In Finland, Sandvik has three factories for mining and construction material. The company wanted to have good visibility and control over inbound processes that included purchase orders and shipments from the suppliers. Since the raw materials are critical to a continuous production, they wanted real-time information on shipments’ and purchase orders’ status.
Vilant implemented an RFID system for automating the inbound processes at Sandvik. For each purchase order that the supplier receives, the system produces an RFID shipment label that follows the shipment along the way. Shipments are automatically registered as they enter Sandvik’s factory. Once a shipment arrives from the supplier to Sandvik’s factory, it passes through an RFID gate that reads the RFID label information and automatically passes it to the ERP system via Vilant’s RFID server software. This has resulted in 100% accurate stock levels, fewer production breaks and lower buffer stock level. Read full story here.
At Von Roll Insulation, the wire products are shipped on returnable plastic reels to customers worldwide. Managing the inventory and tracking the movement of 50 000 plastic reels with manual methods is both time consuming and prone to errors. At the same time, the availability of empty plastic reels is crucial for continuous and flawless operations. Missing internal and external visibility of these assets causes a challenge for maintaining this flow.
Each of the 50‘000 plastic reel assets is tagged with an ultra robust yet still very affordable UHF Gen2 RFID label.
Outbound: During the outbound process, the RFID tags of up to 60 reel assets – meaning hundreds of kilos of metal on a pallet – are bulk read using Vilant‘s Shipment Verification station. This station is equipped with a RFID reader, RFID antennas and a touch screen display showing the number of RFID tags read. At this step each reel asset is assigned to the pallet (shipment) as well as the customer it will be sent to.
Inbound: Once the empty reel assets come back from customers, they will be read again during inbound process. A Vilant Smart Gate automatically reads every reel at inbound and discharges the asset from the customer it was assigned to. Vilant Smart Gate consist of a RFID reader, antennas and a touch screen display interface. It also includes a stray read filter that assures only relevant RFID tags are read but no other, for example in-stock assets.
Vilant Asset Tracking server software keeps track of all the assets and is the basis for a permanent and real-time inventory, as well as ad-hoc reporting.
Read full story here.
Metso paper has a consignment stock service for their paper mill customers to supply doctor blades, which are consumable spare parts for paper making machines. These blades are stored in customers’ warehouses around the world. Since the blades are crucial for the paper making process, Metso needs to make sure that the stock levels are optimal in all locations and the customers do not run out of them. Keeping track of the inventory manually was time consuming and therefore expensive.
Vilant implemented an RFID solution for tracking doctor blades and their stock levels automatically. All blades are now tagged with UHF RFID labels and storage shelves are equipped with RFID readers. The readers are connected through GPRS mobile network to a centralized Vilant Server that reports existing stock levels in real time. With the implementation of this solution, Metso was able to increase the accuracy of the blades available at the customers’ location, optimize the stock levels and reduced maintenance and logistics’ costs previously caused by manual inventory methods.
The system consists of dozens of automatic RFID warehouses in Europe and North America. Vilant took full responsibility of the implementation and carried out the rollout in cooperation with the customer. In addition, Vilant offers full hardware and software support. Read full story here.