TPV Group supplies body and chassis assemblies, seats and seat components, engine gaskets, and automated guided vehicle (AGV) solutions to leading automotive manufacturers. The company operates five production sites in Slovenia as well as one in Serbia and has more than 1,200 employees.
The company engaged Slovenian automatic identification integrator LEOSS d.o.o. to develop a new RFID-based system to improve TPV’s production and packaging processes. The solution replaced an existing barcode-based system that required more manual effort from employees on the manufacturing floor.
“In order to create a solution that would meet TPV’s requirements, we had to select RFID transponders that could operate while mounted on metal carriers and that would be resistant to the effects of chemicals and high temperatures,” said Franci Nadles, owner of LEOSS. “We also needed to program and configure the fixed RFID readers to avoid cross-reading of the carriers and develop software that can capture data from the RFID tags and send it to the various control systems that TPV uses in its production processes.”
TPV Group has implemented Xerafy’s RFID transponders and fixed readers and antennas as part of a closed-loop system, so the tags are only read on TPV’s production line as they circulate throughout the facility. The tags are attached to customized product carriers in which various metal parts are suspended. These carriers are transported throughout the production facility both on special carts and an overhead conveyor belt.
Different components may be loaded on each carrier simultaneously, but must be harmonized so the parameters of technological procedures for each production phase are the same for each carrier. Information about the parts on the carrier and production management details are entered into the system as the parts are loaded and associated to the RFID transponder. A robotic system manages where the carriers are sent for processing using the RFID tag data and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).
Eventually, TPV envisions the RFID tags forming the basis for a “smart factory” that is completely automated.
Because the RFID tags provide high visibility and accuracy, the employees who package the products at the end of production always receive the appropriate product control and packaging instructions.
The Roswell tags have also ensured that TPV can provide full track-and-trace capabilities throughout the production process. During manufacturing, the parts travel through a number of harsh treatment processes, including pre-treatment of the surface, cataphoresis coating, drying at 180°C and powder coating.
The Roswell tags are highly resistant to these processes throughout repeated production cycles and can be kept in service over a long period of time. The Roswell UHF tags have a read range on metal of up to 5 meters and can withstand temperatures up to 250°C. They are also resistant to paint and chemical exposure.
Xerafy has been working with leading automotive industry companies for years to develop reliable RFID solutions for manufacturing, work in process, and supply chain tracking applications. In addition to the Roswell tag, Xerafy offers a full line of rugged RFID transponders built for harsh auto manufacturing applications, including the Micro X II Automotive – Paint Shop tag.
“We are pleased that TPV Group and LEOSS have been able to leverage our durable RFID tags in this automotive work-in-process application,” said Xerafy CEO and founder Dennis Khoo. “Xerafy’s RFID products are designed to help automotive companies improve productivity and cut costs, and we will continue to focus our development efforts on enabling further industry adoption.”