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