Abstract from The International Business Logistics Congress – Supply Chain Management in Science and Practice 2018
Digitalization and auto-identification of internal transport in TPV company.
TPV Group is a development supplier operating on the global automotive industry market. TPV Group’s product programmes are grouped in tree business divisions:
- Division Vehicles
- Division AvtoIN
- Division Trailers
AvtoIN presents their core business. Within this division they develop and manufacture car body and chassis assemblies, seat components and engine gaskets for the needs of OEMs and system suppliers. In addition, they develop and provide complete cost effective solutions for production logistics management, where AGV - automated guided vehicles are being the main product highlight.
The Vehicles division contains the programme of sales of new and second hand cars and light trailers and the programme of overall after-sale services for vehicles users.
In their third business division - Trailers - they develop and produce light transport trailers in cooperation with German partner Böckmann. TPV is also one of the partners in the development center SiEVA, within which they develop technological competences and participate on research projects.
Turnover: 120 mio €
Manpower: 1.240 employees
Over 60 year tradition in the automotive industry:
Their products are integrated in the following car brands:
Challenge and solution(s)
The story of LEOSS d.o.o. and TPV Group started in 2006, more than a decade ago. They wanted to track their products through transport and cataphoretic line (picture 1).
The products were suspended on hanging brackets that were automatically transported through the whole process. LEOSS d.o.o. developed a solution with barcode technology – laser cut inverted barcode (picture 2), to be more precise. The problem regarding cataphoretic line is abrasive agents, paint, heat… that could damage the typical barcode. If the barcode would be printed or engraved, it would soon become unreadable due to the lack of contrast.
The inverted barcode was attached to the hanging bracket. Before entering the line, a worker slid a white roller behind the barcode and scanned it. After exiting he repeated the process.
As the industry is moving towards the standards of industry 4.0, where the paradigm is that all devices are connected and communicate with each other, they decided to expand the tracking idea to other areas. The use of RFID identification has now expanded to be an essential tool for tracking of the production materials throughout the factory as soon as they leave the cataphoretic line. The painted products are transported and navigated within the factory to specific locations, designated by the company’s manufacturing execution system. The transportation is done by automatic guided vehicles or shortly AGVs. The destinations in painted parts are various. They can end up either on additional processing line, where they are dust painted, and where the RFID is again used to determine which process is to be used. The second possible destination is manual packaging, where the worker automatically receives packaging information so the errors are brought to a minimum. The storage warehouse is the last possible destination, where the products are sorted by desired specifics.
As it turned out, the technology had to be upgraded as well. LEOSS d.o.o. implemented RFID solution for tracking products all around the manufacture area.
LEOSS d.o.o. had a general idea on how to solve all the obstacles (as they are aware, that with complex solutions, one cannot just copy a working solution from one area or industry to another), but because of harsh environment (high temperatures for long periods time), the biggest problem were robust RFID tags. The first tags were fine, at least on paper, but they soon broke down (picture 3).
After substantial testing, they managed to implement tags (picture 4) with sufficient robustness. As it turns out, the temperature over time still changes the frequency spectrum. But the percentage is not significant.
As with all custom solutions, there are a lot of unknowns, especially when implementing RFID technology. One such segment is receiver coverage. As shown below (picture 5), one can see the difference between theory and reality.
Joint vision of finished solution is a smart factory - total automatization. LEOSS d.o.o. is providing a background intelligence integrated with hardware for tracking and gathering intel-data for efficient internal transport – hanging brackets, AGVs (picture 6)…
LEOSS is a team of specialists for barcode and RFID solutions. For the last three decades, we improve the knowledge and understanding of the field and share it with our ambitious partners with common goal - to grow efficiently and exponentially. As a company working with RFID technology, we understand, that every company is unique and has unique desires and therefore need custom approach and solutions. It’s a long process, but it produces great results and joyful partnerships.
Our research and development team consists of two branches.
One is steady development of mobile software for professional use on field and in warehouses. The other branch are custom solutions for complex systems where our software/hardware is integrated in existing work processes.
More about LEOSS (https://leoss.si/en/)
More about TPV Group (https://www.tpv.si/en/)