The large number of options offered in modern vehicles is a challenge for the automotive industry and can be superbly addressed using RFID technology. Production-relevant data is made available for other processes, and sub-suppliers can be integrated into the logistics chain.
One of the central requirements of the automotive industry is to have the right parts in the right quantity at precisely the right time at the desired location along the assembly line. The required process times per assembly location must be short and the logistics process back to the subsupplier needs to be fully automated.
Customers demand consistent RFID standards, such that systems, once implemented at one production location, can easily be implemented in all locations. Automotive companies tend to embrace Ethernet-based communication solutions (Ethernet/IP for North America and PROFINET with AIDA push-pull connectors in Europe). RFID tags must be able to work reliably in vastly different environments.
Seamless logistics processes between the parts supplier and assembly plant including automatic association of parts containers, subassemblies, and individual parts to the car. The high reliability of RFID equipment and data exchange in industrial environments is key.
At the parts supplier, the receiving dock, and the line locations where the subassembly or component is being installed, readers access the tag data and associate the data with a build number and the vehicle that will receive them. Additionally, these data will be used for quality control purposes. Because the parts identification using RFID is fully automatic, manual processes using mobile barcode readers can be omitted. The Pepperl+Fuchs IDENTControl solution offers an RFID operating-frequency-independent interface to the PLC such that integration work is only done once, simplifying the simultaneous use of long- and short-range RFID tags. The modern AIDA connectors offer a fast and secure connection to the plant's Ethernet infrastructure.
RFID-based logistics solutions involving parts suppliers are standard in modern, flexible automotive assembly manufacturing plants.