What is RFID??
Radio Frequency Identification is an automatic identification technology that is used to describe a system that transmits the identity (in the form of a unique serial number) to an object wirelessly, using radio waves.
Unlike Bar-code technology, RFID technology does not require contact or line of sight for communication.
A basic RFID system consists of three components:
- An antenna
- A transceiver (with decoder)
- A transponder (RF tag) electronically programmed with unique information
How Components Work?
- The antenna emits radio signals to activate the tag and to read the data on to it.
- The reader emits radio waves in ranges of anywhere from 1 inch to 100 feet or more, depending on its power output and the radio frequency used when the RFID tag passes through the electromagnet zone, it detects the readers activation signal.
- The reader decodes the data encoded in the tag's integrated circuit (silicone chip) and the data is passed to the host computer for processing.
Methods Workshop has developed a complete RFID solution to enhance the information flow to meet the growing demand. On time accurate information is now possible at a touch of a button from fabric receipt to despatch monitoring the cutting room, the sewing and finishing departments, incorporating quality, WIP control, and line balancing
It is a total operations management tool.
In the Cutting department
The entire Lay information i.e. lay no., size, colour, number of plies and optimum bundle quantity is entered into the system and a bundle list is generated. Tags are initialised for each bundle / garment to be produced; the tags are attached to each bundle / garment.
|THE TAG ||THE TERMINAL
At the beginning of every new style each terminal is assigned with specific operations based on the operation sequence. As bundles / garments progress the tag is passed over the terminal and the information contained on the tag is read into the computer, the information is processed instantly and a host of production orientated data is generated
Line Balancing and WIP Control
As production lines run, constant re-balancing is essential to maximise output and since WIP information is live all variations to the planned WIP are immediately viewable, supervision and management can see the operations out of balance and work to rectify them. We have positioned a screen on every line which shows WIP levels on every operation, the optimum level is shown in green and variations are shown in different colours indicating high or low WIP, Bottle neck management becomes a simple process.
Information on the terminal
The RFID terminal has the following information constantly available
|1. Start Time
|| 4. Quality
|| 7. Repairs outstanding, and
|| 5. Bonus earnings
|| others as required.
|3. Off standard time
|| 6. Garments Produced
We need to motivate the operators to produce more, obviously the most effective motivator is money and RFID is a magnificent tool to show operators how much they are earning throughout the day, each time a bundle is completed the earnings are automatically updated at the operators terminal, thus they can see their up to the minute earnings, it is ever present and updated immediately. Our system can also predict what the operator is going to earn at the end of the pay period if they continue to perform at their current level, and can be incorporated with HR admin and payroll software. Payroll processing online becomes much easier to handle.
Quality is also monitored through the system, roving quality checkers will visit operators at random, check garments and record faults found on the terminal, the same process of recording can be done by inline and end line checkers, this information will establish a fault rate per operator and highlight areas that need special attention.
Repairs can be tracked, bundles split if required, and orders can be competed with the minimum delay and appropriate preventative action can be taken quickly. This of course leads to a “Right first time psychology” which will help to lower re-work percentages as a further step towards improved productivity and lower costs.
Off standard / lost time / down time.
Operators also record all lost time on their terminals (this is later authorised by supervision) thus an accurate system of recording is established and can be constantly managed. Lost time is a main indicator of factory management efficiency; if it is not being monitored companies can easily be losing 10% of their potential. We have also incorporated the potential to call a mechanic to a machine that requires assistance it will record the time of the request and the time that attention is received.
One of the biggest problems in this area is handling repairs / re-work / spotting /measurement defects ect, RFID is a magnificent tool to manage this. We have throughout our recommendations assumed the use of bundles, bundles can be as big or small as you require, you can track single garments if you wish, it doesn’t matter, it’s what suits your environment best! If you are using bundles of 10 and garments get split from the bundle then it is possible to immediately produce another tag for the garments that have been split from the bundle, the quantity remaining is reduced and the “new bundles” are monitored separately, their progress is tracked as easily as a normal bundle. This means the elimination of counting and sorting sizes since the system does all of that work for you, it also means that you can “see” where the odd garments are which will enable you to take the action necessary to get them completed. Proper controls in this area will improve your “Cut to Ship” ratios
RFID advantages in MIS for General Management
All relevant manufacturing information is displayed on large screens distributed around the factory and offices, it is instantly and constantly updated, so management can see a multitude of relevant information, the results can be integrated with smart phones and give the flexibility of “Data on the move” Informed management is the key to improved productivity, when information is live then all concerned in the various areas of control are IN COTROL.
All of the following reports or queries are immediately available at any time
- Efficiency reports -- Individual / Line / Department / Factory
- Lost time control -- All sections
- WIP tracking -- all orders
- Running Line balance position -- WIP levels on all operations
- Bundle tracking -- late bundles, problem bundles
- Piece work earnings per person
- Line profit or loss -- live per line or subsection
- Quality info -- per operator, style, problem operations, per line, per factory
- Skills matrix -- Automatically updated
- Incentive earnings and Many more....