In the area of automotive manufacturing, known for its early adoption of new technology, auto makers have been some of the first to deploy Industry 4.0 techniques. They’re using cyber-physical systems to
streamline operations, make assembly lines more responsive, implement
preventive maintenance programs, connect geographically-distant facilities,
and shorten delivery times.
RAIN RFID is a prominent part of this transition to Industry 4.0, because
it lets everything – parts, components, containers, tools, and finished
products – become integrated into the automated processes within the
manufacturing plant and at every point in the supply chain.
Every Item Has a Traceable Identity
RAIN RFID is the commercial name for the ultra-high frequency (UHF)
technology behind the EPC Global Gen2 V2 / ISO18000-6 standards.
It’s a passive wireless technology, meaning it doesn’t need a battery.
It can be embedded in rigid tags, paper stickers and as part of circuit
boards. It can then read very accurately at a distance of several meters,
without line of sight, and in bulk. RAIN RFID makes it possible
to identify, locate, and engage items and has been used in supply chains
for many years. Today, it connects billions of everyday items to the internet.
"RAIN RFID gives every item its own unique identity, so it can be part
of track and trace systems. It also support enhanced intelligence,
for dynamic interaction and secure authentication to establish full trust."
From an automotive standpoint, using RAIN RFID for item-level digitization delivers
several benefits to manufacturing, including enhanced life-cycle management,
increased supply-chain transparency, smarter factories, and improved customer
experiences and services.
Tailored for Automotive
Vehicle manufacturing has its own particular requirements for ruggedness and
reliability. To support this challenging operating environment, there are
RAIN RFID tags made with special adhesives and materials that are purpose-engineered
and pre-qualified to withstand the automotive-grade production and operation. RAIN
RFID tags can go where barcodes and other optical codes can’t, including high-temperature
paint environments, where the peak temperature can range between 190 and 230 °C.
As a result, RAIN RFID can be used almost anywhere in the vehicle – inside, outside,
under the hood – and with difficult-to-label automotive components, including batteries,
engine blocks, fuel caps, bumpers, cables and tires.
Benefits Up and Down the Supply Chain
There are dozens of use cases, up and down the supply chain, where RAIN RFID can enhance
operations. Whether it’s upstream from manufacturing, with suppliers of raw materials,
components, and sub-assemblies, or downstream with third-party logistics companies
and dealership, RAIN RFID can enhance transparency, streamline processes,
and help increase efficiency.
- End-to-end transparency
RAIN RFID enables full visibility, from the earliest stages of manufacturing
to final vehicle delivery and beyond. Shipping and receiving supply-chain items
becomes more automated, with the ability to process many items at once, so
inventory control is faster, and more precise, and everyone can access
real-time information about item status. Full traceability on each item
makes it easier to monitor compliance with safety regulations, and
simplifies recalls if there are quality deviations.
Better process control
RAIN RFID ensures that the right parts, components, and tools are in
the right location when they’re needed, so production lines can stay
up and running. There’s less downtime, because everything is on hand and
because machines can self-monitor and send alerts to schedule preventive
maintenance. Automated shipping notices, issued without inserting extra
steps to the shipping process, keep suppliers and customers better
informed without adding effort.
RAIN RFID allows for more automation and, as a result, makes
manufacturing processes more efficient. Highly accurate bulk reads,
without line of sight, can be done in an instant, making it possible
to verify that every item loaded into a shipping container, stored into a
bin, or loaded onto a truck, is accounted for. RAIN RFID also supports
predictive maintenance, since tags can provide the data needed to ensure
equipment is available as needed, so there are fewer delays caused by
downed equipment and unexpected repairs.
An Innovative Example
A relatively new innovation is RAIN RFID tags for tires. The tag can
withstand vulcanization, so it can be embedded inside the rubber,
where it can provide identification and collect information as it proceeds
through the supply chain. Once the tire is in use, on a vehicle, the tag makes
it easier to integrate after-sales services, with quick reads of tire type and
origin, as well as operating data such as tire pressure and distance traveled.
Just the Beginning
The examples given here are only a glimpse of what’s possible when RAIN RFID becomes
part of the supply chain for vehicle manufacturing. At NXP, we’re working with
companies throughout the automotive sector to use RAIN RFID as a way to enhance
lifecycle management, increase supply-chain transparency, make factories smarter,
and improve driver experiences.
family of RAIN RFID ICs includes three categories of technology and supports use
cases that range from basic identification to reprogrammable memory for dynamic
interactions and crypto-functionality for high-level security. Along with our
partners in the RAIN RFID ecosystem, we support different aspects of operation,
from tags and readers to software, including applications on readers, backend
software in the enterprise, and analytics in the cloud.
Our Webinar Tells You More
To learn more about how we’re using RAIN RFID to enable smarter vehicle
manufacturing, we invite you to
view our recent webinar, delivered jointly
with our partners in RAIN RFID labeling, Avery-Dennison and Smartrac.