Indirect tracking of goods on pallets (Case Study)

Background

A Fortune 500 company from the metal industry located at Székesfehérvár, Hungary manufactures wheel rims for trucks. The whole production line is automated and able to produce more than 60 different kind of wheels but only one type at a time. Reconfiguring the production line increases manufacturing costs of the wheels so the company often works for stock after one type of order is fulfilled.

Problem

This type of production creates huge fluctuation in the warehousing space required thus many parts of the Székesfehérvár plant is reordered for storing goods for unpredictable storage times. Forklift drivers usually put down the goods where they find a free space and rush for the next pallet coming down from the automated production line. Tracing back the location of the pallets was unmanageable. This resulted in manufacturing wheel rims again instead of storing out the warehouse. Warehouse area was wasted.

Solution

After deploying Sunstone RTLS in a 2000 m2 warehouse of the Székesfehérvár plant and placing two Sunstone DuraTags to every forklift, their movements become traceable in the warehouse.

Now we equipped each forklift with a barcode scanner that is attached to a special tag, called the Sunstone Scanner tag. Each time a forklift driver puts a pallet down, or lifts it away he scans the code on the pallets. The scanned information along with the forklifts position is then stored in the Sunstone Backend.

A small web-applicaiton was created to query the backend for each pallets position. This is application is accessible from the tablet placed on the forklifts. The drivers are able to find the pallets required in seconds!