Danfoss introduces groundbreaking new technology and world-class logistics. RFID is an essential element of a new warehouse, providing 100% traceability. The RFID project was delivered in just three months.
Denmark's largest electronics company
Danfoss Power Electronics is Denmark's largest electronics company with 1,250 employees, five factories and an annual turnover of four billion. In Gråsten alone, over 600,000 customer-specific frequency converters are manufactured annually. The company has a typical delivery time of one to two days. The components come from hundreds of subcontractors. To drive the logistics process, a good system is needed to manage the assembly and delivery process.
"We chose Tecsys because they were focused on the solution. That is, an understanding of the physical processes and an understanding of how to exploit the new technologies. At the same time, it was demonstrated that you can integrate with other control systems and get a total solution." Jannik Hollænder Jensen, Logistics Engineer, Danfoss Power Electronics.
Once the individual frequency converter is assembled, it is packed in a polystyrene box. On the box is a label with a barcode and product information. It should be behind shrink wrap. But the film is often curled, and experience showed that the barcode reader could miss a box. The consequence was that a single box could stop the entire storage process in the automated warehouse. Danfoss' challenge was to trace the products from production to shipment. In addition, they wanted the new fully automated warehouse to have a process without human intervention. So it was natural to look at the new RFID technology.
Description of the solution
The project was carried out by Tecsys A/S, and the RFID technology came from Honeywell. Everyone is proud that the project was delivered in just three months, especially given that RFID technology is new. The UHF EPC GEN2 RFID tag allows multiple tags to be read simultaneously, even in an environment with multiple RFID readers in close proximity. The new roof stands out because it is standardised and can be used all over the world.
The RFID tag is read by an antenna connected to an RFID reader. The reader is connected via the network to the Tecsys RFID server.
The solution was to develop an integration between the SAP/Shopfloor system, communication to the conveyors and the automatic attachment of RFID tags to the boxes. The RFID tag sits on the back of a traditional label. In the packaging process, the RFID label is automatically applied to the box as it passes the printer. Each RFID tag is given a unique serial number. The boxes run on a conveyor belt and 32 reading points (antennas) are set up along the route. When the box passes an antenna, it is read and the system communicates with the conveyor belt so that the box is driven to the correct destination.
Tecsys has developed an RFID server, which is the glue between all the mechanical systems and the IT systems. It controls all RFID read points and provides full traceability. At the same time, it communicates with four printers to automatically apply barcode labels with built-in RFID tags. The RFID server also communicates with the logistics system, which knows where to send the box.
Metal interferes with the radio signal
"RFID's worst enemy is metal. Metal reflects the radio signals from the RFID tag. The result can be that the antennas receive several different signals at once. To solve this problem, some of the metal rollers in the conveyor belt were replaced with plastic rollers and the RFID tag was relocated. This resulted in better reading security. One of the functions of the RFID server is to sort the many signals and determine which signals are good," says Niels Ole Dyremose, Project Manager, Tecsys.
The Tecsys RFID server controls all RFID read points. When a box activates a photocell, the associated antennas are started. As the radio waves are invisible, a lamp is lit briefly to show that the box has been read. If not read, an error lamp lights up.
Once an RFID tag is read, the information is passed on to various IT systems. For example. Shopfloor, crane system and SAP.
Tecsys RFID Server
An antenna receives signals from all RFID tags within range. Unwanted reads and reflections are handled automatically by the RFID Server. In case of service, you can simply replace a reader, as the RFID Server manages all readers and antennas from a central setup tool. After replacement, the server will automatically send the desired setup to the new device.
Statistics in an invisible environment
RFID read security is monitored and an alarm is automatically sent if read security drops, for example because an antenna has been displaced.