The Finnish tools and equipment supplier, Würth Oy, has been one of the early birds in the field of RFID as they introduced their first RFID system in Finland already in 1995. Automating their picking line with RFID has brought Würth tremendous savings along the years thanks to error reduction, savings in labor costs and more efficient collection process.
Würth introduced its first RFID system already 15 years ago. This low frequency (LF) RFID system was proprietary technology and dependable on specific hardware. When the reader manufacturer stopped making the design used by Würth, the company was unable to get spare parts to their system which caused massive problems.
The automatic picking line consists of 1,5km of conveyor and over 20 picking stations with over 40 RFID readers. The RFID readers identify tagged picking boxes on the line and direct them to the correct picking stations along the way. The picking line is operated in two shifts, five days a week with over 70% of all orders passing through it every day. The line is crucial to the daily operations of Würth and can’t stand any unintended down time. The amount of daily RFID tracking events is close to 40 000.
New solution was delivered by Vilant Systems and is working reliably at the customer site. The new system is based on Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Gen2 RFID. Vilant Systems was able to provide the hardware, software and the project work to update the whole picking line without any interruptions to the production. The picking boxes are tagged with UPM Raflatac Web inlays and the tags are identified with ThingMagic Astra readers. The reliable operation and ease of maintenance were two key factors in the evaluation criteria for the new system. With Vilant Server 5 device management and device monitoring functions, Würth’s requirements towards the critical part of their operations were met.
- Updated UHF Gen2 based RFID system
- Reliable operation of the crucial picking line
- Ease of maintenance