NGF Europe RFID Case Study

NGF Europe

NGF EUROPE is at the forefront in the manufacture and marketing of specialised Glass Cord products. Glass Cord is used mainly in the automotive industry for the reinforcement of synchronous drive belts. 

NGF’s Glass Cord product is shipped to their customers on bobbins. The cord is sensitive to ultra-violet light and humidity, so NGF wraps each bobbin with approximately twenty layers of black polywrap material. Barcode labels are then applied to this outer wrapping.  NGF wanted the ability to verify and validate the original ID label applied to the actual bobbin and compare it to the label on the outer packaging to ensure 100% accuracy in identifying product.  This process is impossible to perform with standard barcode labelling and only achievable with RFID technology. 

Another very important feature of RFID tagging technology is that it offered NGF the ability to include large amounts of customer-specific data on the label, whilst maintaining the same form factor as the original barcode labels.  Those customers of NGF that have yet to deploy RFID can still use the information supplied by the over-printed barcode on the label, as they have always done.

connectRFID are one of the leading accredited RFID solutions providers for industry.  Through our extensive knowledge and experience, coupled with an unparalleled level of manufacturer support we can offer an RFID solution for virtually any application.

Whether it is LF (125Hz), HF (13.56MHz), UHF (868MHz) or active tag technology we aim to ensure a return on investment in an effective, controlled and viable manner.  We achieve this using our phased, modular approach of:
Site Survey > Design > Proof of Concept > Production Pilot > Deployment > Integration.
The ability to choose all or specific modules in a self-chosen timeframe enables the results and information gathered to be best utilised for maximum benefit.

Our areas of expertise encompass NHS, healthcare, industrial, manufacturing, retail, warehousing and distribution.

The challenge
Provide 100% shipping accuracy and stock control, and carry more customer-specific data through the shipping process.
At the point of manufacture, a barcode was applied to a slot in each bobbin.  At various points during the production process, the barcode was read.  At the final stage of production, the bobbins were wrapped in the black UV-protective polywrap material before being palletised and shipped or warehoused for shipment at a later date.
Problems arose after the wrapping process, as the bobbin barcode was rendered unreadable through the polywrap material and identification of an individual bobbin became impossible without removing the packaging.
A solution was required to solve this problem and if possible, create additional business benefits.

NGF Bobbin

The solution
After investigating and testing various hardware platforms, connectRFID proposed the implementation of High Frequency (HF) RFID technology to deliver a cost-effective solution.
Due to the harsh production environment, HF read/write hardware from EMS was selected as the best “fit” for the application. 

A mixture of plate and conveyor-type antennae were deployed to cover the various stages of production, including weigh stations, wrap station and packaging conveyor lines.  The use of HF read/write hardware allows the bobbins holding the product to be read and written to at key stages, both prior to the wrap process and subsequently when covered with the UV wrap.  Identification information, such as product description, product code, weight and customer details can be updated throughout the process without the need for “line of sight” with the reader hardware.

As well as being involved with the hardware testing, connectRFID also provided the initial RFID tags for testing with the EMS hardware and designed the customised trapezoidal label design and specification.  SATO RFID printers were used to overprint the RFID tags and write the initial data to them – a key factor early in the production process.  Ease of integration into the customers label software was also critical to allow a smooth implementation if the RFID-based solution.

NGF Europe’s Peter Lai explains, “NGF’s main business driver throughout this project was to ensure 100 percent accuracy in everything we ship to our customers.  RFID technology has allowed us to retain an accurate vision of our product after its protective wrapping has been applied, ensuring that we deliver the right item, first time, every time.  In addition to satisfying this requirement, we are also able to include much larger amounts of data to our labels, which will help us better service our customers as they introduce the technology into their organisations.  connectRFID were a valuable partner to NGF during all stages of this project, sourcing our hardware, tags and labels and assisting us with the deployment and implementation of the technology”

Steve Tope, sales director of connectRFID says of the project “connectRFID are privileged to be involved with NGF Europe in RFID-enabling their business processes and allowing NGF to further improve on their services offered to their customers. Throughout the project we have had an excellent relationship with NGF and look forward to continuing our work with them as their use of the technology develops.’’

Peter Lai can be contacted at:
Lea Green Road

Tel: 44(0)1744 853059
Fax: 44(0)1744 816147

e-mail: Peter.Lai@ngfeurope.com

Steve Tope can be contacted at:
Suites 7-10 Wesley House
Huddersfield Road
Birstall, West Yorkshire
WF17 9EJ

Tel: 44(0)1924 424 600
Fax: 44(0)1924 424 601

email: steve@connectRFID.co.uk