In this last article from 3 about PackStatus we will emphasize RFID. This is an automatic identification method that gives logistic service providers interesting opportunities to create added value. Last September FPC started, togeter with BOM.nl and 15 other Brainport Eindhoven members, a big research project in the RFID field.
What is RFID?
RFID is a technology to save information into and read information from so called RFID chips. Those can be on or in objects or living creatures. An RFID reader can read the chip everywhere in the world. It is a technology that FPC can use innovatively in their services.
Nothing new? Or is it?
RFID en RFID chips are not new of course. “The basic principle of RFID, radio-frequency identification, goes back to the second world war. That is when airplanes where equipped with radio beacons for the first time, in order to identify planes as friendly or hostile.”
“RFID, as it is applied in its current form, finds it origin in the sixties. Two Philips employees discovered how chips could be read out from a distance every thime when products go through a detection gate.
From this starting point the company ID Engineering developed applications in the field of theft prevention. C&A was the first company in Europe that made use of detection gates in their shops and attached RF labels to their products.”
FPC recognizes the advantages of RFID technology and sees it as an innovative extension for the PackStatus platform: the customer does not only know the exact location and condition of their product, he also knows exactly what is inside. For customers that send expensive components in reusable packaging this is essential information. Think about the shipment of tool kits: is it complete, or are parts missing?
Another example comes from the medical sector. When placing implants it is often not known on beforehand which dimensions the implantate and the mounting materials should have. That is why the surgeon receives a kit with material in different size.
The medical manufacturere knows that the kit will be returned in an uncomplete state, but is not able te specify what is missing before he receives it. When using an RFID chip, he immediatley knows this and he can already ask the logistics department to stock the missing parts.
Mobile detection gates
Fixed detection gates are not really useful when you are in a supply chain with different customers, since the gates can only be in place at fixed logistical partners. The technique that FPC will use will make detection gates unnecessary. The packaging itself will function as the RFID reader and sends the information about content en location.
Do you want to know more about the research and the progress? Contact Bart van Dijck.
Did you miss the first two articles?
No problem, they are still online. The first article is about GPS tracking of the complete route, not only the beginning or end point. The second article focuses on the monitoring of condition of shipments.