COME HEAVY RAIN OR A BLIZZARD, RFID DELIVERS RESULTS FOR LEADING SLATE MANUFACTURER

Norwegian based Minera Norge does not need to worry about weather. In RFID, the company has found a reliable weatherproof remedy for supply chain management issues.


Background

Minera Norge, Scandinavia's leading manufacturer of slate rock products used for e.g. interiors, walkways, floors and roofs, exports its tiles and blocks to customers in more than 25 countries.


Challenge

  • Minera Norge sought after a reliable solution to automate the production, locating and delivery processes of its slate products.
  • The company also wanted to minimise the potential of human errors in shipments to avoid expensive erroneous shipments of weighty stone products.
  • The products are stored outdoors where they are exposed to seasonal weather conditions including heat and sunlight in the summer to blizzards and freezing cold in winter, thus placing a challenge for the identification solution to be always reliable, regardless of external conditions.


Solution

  • Minera Norge chose to implement an RFID solution called superDAGFINN from ACT Systems Skandinavia, a part of the ACT Gruppen, utilising Hammer™ and ShortDipole™ UHF RFID tags.
  • SMARTRAC tags were chosen due to their proven excellent performance in demanding supply chain and logistics applications.
  • Workers use an RFID card to log into the company's ERP system as they come to work and receive information on orders to process on a display. Once an order is chosen for processing, the system requests the stones needed to complete the order.
  • Finished products, tiles or blocks, are packed into pallets attached with RFID tags, and moved on to an RFID reader portal where data on each pallet is linked to the corresponding order. ACT Systems of middleware portal RFID communicates with readers, scales, PLC and the ERP system.
  • Pallets then move on to a large outdoor yard for storage by a forklift equipped with a GPS system and an RFID reader.


Success

  • When a pallet is picked up with a forklift, ACT's software shows information of the pallet on the forklift's cabin screen enabling the driver to instantly see whether or not it is the right product.
  • The GPS system is used to locate pallets in real time as they are moved with the forklifts. It provides the driver with a map showing the exact location of pallets as well as the forklift, and moreover it offers driving directions to locate the specific pallets.
  • Office personnel can also watch the movements of all loaders from a map installed in the office.
  • The RFID solution has automated the invoicing process as forklift drivers can activate the invoicing process by indicating from the vehicle's screen when a product has been shipped, and by sending an advance shipping notice to a customer.
  • Minera Norge and its customers have been able to enjoy the benefits of the RFID implementation in the form of faster and accurate deliveries.
  • Minera Norge was honoured with the esteemed ‘Best RFID Implementation’ award in the RFID Journal Live 2010 annual industry event.