Panels manufactured for the meals business by PolySto Group enable the automated seize of merchandise’ identities and associated components, whereas creating an identification that may observe them all through their lifespan.
Nov 08, 2022PolySto Group, a expertise firm for the Belgian meals business, has adopted an RFID system up to now 12 months that’s enabling a robotic meeting course of for its specialised hygienic wall safety resolution. By monitoring every new panel and the associated molds and components fitted to that product, the corporate has transitioned from a totally guide meeting course of to a robotic one. That has resulted in sooner manufacturing, with fewer potentials for errors, the corporate experiences. The answer, offered by Auxcis RFID Options, employs UHF RFID readers from Impinj, in addition to Aucxis’s personal Hertz middleware and Polaris software program.
Because of the nature of its operations, and the extremely regulated necessities of well being and authorities our bodies, the meals business wants specialised wall coverings wherever meals is managed, PolySto explains. The corporate, based mostly in Lokeren, Belgium, manufactures polymer composite wall panels, often known as kerbs, which are composed of a mix of polyester resins and quartz granules, in addition to numerous components. The composition helps to forestall contaminations, reminiscent of Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. These protecting panels are designed to be simple to scrub and decontaminate.
PolySto can customise the merchandise in keeping with the wants of its clients. Every panel contains particular molds and inserts, based mostly on the panel’s peak or width, which offer its seal when put in. Historically, PolySto managed the work-in-progress of every new product by manually monitoring each panel, together with its inserts and molds, to make sure the right matching of components. This, nonetheless, proved to be a time-consuming course of that might scale back effectivity.
Figuring out Robotic Elements through RFID
In 2020, says Jan Weymans, PolySto’s product supervisor, the corporate was making ready to interchange a few of its guide processes with a robotic system, nevertheless it wanted a approach for robots to determine every product and supply the required operations based mostly on that identification. The corporate’s administration started working with Aucxis to develop an answer that might seize the distinctive ID variety of each panel and its associated components, each throughout and after manufacturing. “On this approach,” he says, “the robotic is aware of which program to pick out to complete the kerb.”
PolySto and Aucxis first performed a proof-of-concept in late 2020. Then, after proving the system operated as wanted, they deployed the Nova RFID Asset Administration resolution platform the next 12 months, in keeping with Lauran D’hanis, Aucxis’s account supervisor and enterprise marketing consultant. There have been challenges associated to RFID deployment on this setting, he recollects. For one factor, Weymans notes, the automation of manufacturing required the best accuracy and reliability potential.
The companions labored with Aucxis to make sure correct set up and energy ranges of RFID readers so that each tag can be learn as every product arrived on the robotic station. The answer consists of passive UHF RFID tags mounted throughout the panels throughout the manufacturing course of. Every tag ID is then linked to particulars about its corresponding panel. The inserts and molds are additionally tagged, and the distinctive ID quantity encoded on every tag is linked to the panel that’s being assembled.
Routinely Linking Panels to Molds and Inserts
As a brand new panel below manufacturing proceeds by the manufacturing course of, it passes a hard and fast RFID reader put in on the curler conveyor, which carries the panel to the meeting robotic. At this level, the RFID tags are learn, thereby making a connection between the panel and the molds and inserts. Aucxis’s Hertz middleware connects the RFID learn knowledge with PolySto’s enterprise software to instruct the robotic concerning the right process.
When the robotic receives the panel, it might make use of the RFID knowledge to regulate its settings in keeping with the product’s wants. Hertz additionally supplies filtering, processing and the sending of knowledge to the Polaris software program. Administration can use the Polaris Net-based portal to view particulars of every manufactured panel kind, in addition to its standing in manufacturing. Employees typically make use of the hand held RFID reader after the finished panel is being inspected and examined for tolerance. The standard-assurance approval can then be saved within the software program, together with different product data.
Through the RFID system’s deployment, Weyman experiences, the best problem has been to regulate the antenna energy to make sure the best learn. “As a result of the RFID tags are in our product,” he says, and thus can’t be mounted in another way, any change to the system is determined by the RFID antennas. That, he provides, makes it troublesome to regulate rapidly.
Eliminating Guide Counting
For the reason that RFID and robotic resolution was deployed, PolySto has automated the registration and identification of panels, equipment and molds required for every new product. The usage of robotics has lowered labor prices and improved productiveness, Weymans experiences, whereas the robotic system was made potential, partly, by the automated identification of every product because it arrives in that system. “The mix of the RFID expertise and the robotic,” he states, “will improve manufacturing capability, but in addition improve effectivity.”
The corporate can use the Polaris cloud-based software program to realize a real-time and historic overview of the manufacturing course of. As a result of the RFID tag stays with the panel after it goes to the shopper, it supplies identification all through the product’s lifespan. “By making use of an RFID tag [to the wall protection product], you open up many future potentialities,” Weymans says. Just a few examples he cites are manufacturing registration by the customer, in addition to logistical administration reminiscent of monitoring and finding items in a warehouse, stock administration, and managing the end-of-life for every panel.
“Sooner or later,” Weymans predicts, “we will definitely have a look at how we will use [the technology] for automated inventory administration, but in addition for recycling. The latter is turning into more and more vital at present,” to make sure the merchandise’ sustainability and correct disposal. The deployment has confirmed the profitable use of RFID expertise on this setting, D’hanis notes, including, “RFID tagging on poly-concrete may be very possible and infrequently easier than barcode scanning. It could possibly additionally profit numerous course of flows.”
- By deploying RFID, PolySto Group has enabled the transition to robotic meeting by capturing the main points of every panel (kerb) and its associated molds and inserts, which permits robots to offer the required manufacturing processes.
- For the reason that system was deployed, the corporate has lowered labor time for its guide manufacturing course of, in addition to for counting components and guaranteeing they had been correctly put in with every panel.