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Case Studies

Minera Norway Enhance Asset Visibility with Intermec and ACT System Skandanavia

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Situation

Minera Norway, a Norwegian slate manufacturer, cuts slate rock into tiles and blocks used for flooring, walkways, roofing and other applications. These products are then stored in an outdoor yard on pallets, where they await shipment. However, because of the yard’s size— 215,280 square feet —and large quantity of products, the company was easily losing track of where pallets were located and where their inventory was stored. During the harsh winters especially, the problem was even worse, as the pallets were often buried under a large layer of snow.

The company decided to engage with ACT System Skandanavia, an Intermec partner, to help devise a new, streamlined approach to pallet tracking.

Implementation

To eliminate the need for workers to compete with unpredictable weather conditions, or situations where they would require a clean or visible bar code in order to scan the labels, the company installed the ACT system, which includes RFID interrogators on the manufacturing conveyors and forklifts.

Under the new system, RFID technology helps to streamline the process for faster inventory management and better overall accuracy. After the employees cut stones into tiles or other products, they are loaded onto pallets. Each pallet now has an Intermec durable asset tag attached to one corner and is encoded with a unique ID number. The pallets then pass down a conveyor to a scale, where they are weighed and moved to an Intermec RFID reader portal. The portal then captures each tag’s unique ID number and links the pallets with the order using the Act System software. Then, an RFID tag with an order number printed on the front is attached to stretch wrap on the side of the pallet’s product.

Also, each of the forklifts that deliver the pallets to the yard for storage are now equipped with a GPS system and Intermec RFID reader, allowing drivers to confirm they have the correct pallet. Later, to locate pallets for shipping, a driver can enter the order number into the forklift’s onboard RFID/GPS unit, causing an icon with the pallet’s location to appear on the forklift’s attached screen. The screen then shows the driver a map of the yard with their current location, allowing the driver to quickly and easily determine the fastest route to reach the desired pallet.

Benefits

Since deploying in May 2009, Intermec’s RFID components have offered Minera Norway enhanced asset visibility, improved manufacturing efficiency and the ability to simply to locate products with much greater accuracy. Additionally, as soon as forklift drivers pick up products for shipment, the RFID system allows them the ability to send an automatic advance shipping notice to the customer via e-mail. This makes invoicing and billing a much faster, more streamlined process – leading to greater customer service and overall inventory management.

ACT System’s seamless integration on the project was awarded “Best RFID Implementation” at RFID Journal Live! in 2010.

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