Industry trends RFID and Co.: How to Make the Supply Chain Smart

Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Ahlam Rais

The implementation of the latest types of radio frequency identification (RFID) along with smart sensors are laying the road map for the future of smart supply chains.

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Technavio forecasts the global RFID market to grow steadily at a CAGR of around 9% by 2021.
Technavio forecasts the global RFID market to grow steadily at a CAGR of around 9% by 2021.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

As factories of the future are becoming smart so will their processes, right? Even the supply chain involved in moving products or services from the supplier to the customer is no exception to this. Smart supply chains are now making use of smart technologies including radio frequency identification (RFID) to track and manage their products efficiently.

According to market research analyst, Technavio the global RFID market is expected to grow steadily at a CAGR of around 9% by 2021. This is owing to the fact that more industries are making use of cloud-based systems. In the manufacturing sector, RFID tags may be attached to components, such as subassemblies in an automotive plant, which can then be tracked as they move along the production line.

Types of RFIDs

Some of the vital RFIDs for the manufacturing sector include passive, ultra-high frequency RFID called RAIN RFID (RAIN is an acronym derived from RAdio frequency IdentificatioN) which can be used to track products in large volumes. For example, in the automobile sector, industry players can use this technology to keep a track of their containers. Next in line are the low-energy bluetooth tags that cost less as compared to active/wifi enabled tags. These tags are used worldwide and are easy to install.

Hybrid RFID tags as the name suggests are systems that utilize both RAIN RFID along with active RFID. They are most commonly used in manufacturing spaces. RFID tags can also be used to store more data with the use of memory space. Here, manufacturing players can add maintenance records and save information in the tags. Lastly, pre-printed tags are used when a company decides to purchase the tags instead of printing them. This way the manufacturer does not have to take the headache of managing the printer of the tags and this also proves to be a cost-effective option for the company.

Supporting mechanisms

In addition to RFIDs, smart sensors also act as supporting agents to the smart supply chain. For instance, sensors enable managers to monitor their machines in real time and also send out alerts in case something goes amiss i.e. it ensures predictive maintenance. This helps in increasing operational efficiency, lowering production costs, predicting the future challenges and understanding the overall accurate work flow of the operating or working environment of the supply chain. The global smart sensors market will grow rapidly over 21% of CAGR and is expected to reach at 60 billion dollars by the end of forecast period 2022, predicts a report by Market Research Future.

The ‘Smart supply chain’ concept is already making waves by the incorporation of these smart technologies. Many others are still researching on other interesting parameters through which manufacturers can ease their work process. Hannover Messe is one such event where innovations from across the globe can be witnessed at a single event. Right from robotics, integrated energy, to technologies implemented in smart factories, the event has it all!

This article was first published in Maschinenmarkt International

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