Conti looks to Wi-Fi RFID solution to increase output in France
Following positive experiences at its Mt. Vernon, USA plant, Continental has implemented a ‘Work-in-Process’ (WIP) Visibility solution from AeroScout at its tyre plant in Sarreguemines, France. AeroScout, a specialist in enterprise visibility solutions, first supplied the Wi-Fi RFID-enabled solution to Continental Tire the Americas as part of expansion plans for the Mt. Vernon facility; AeroScout says its product helped enable the site achieve a 20 per cent reduction in component tyre losses. Continental anticipates the French project will increase daily output at Sarreguemines by 4,000 units.
“Continental Tire already implemented an AeroScout Wi-Fi RFID system in one of our factories in the United States,” said François Gérard, director of Continental France. “My American colleagues were so enthusiastic about the solution that we decided to use it in Sarreguemines as well. While our production levels are higher, our plant is half the size, making it very dense and challenging to locate material. After the first phase, we are already certain that hard-to-find material can be found with precision.”
AeroScout’s Wi-Fi-based Active RFID tags and standard Wi-Fi client devices work by sending very short signals at regular intervals, adding status or sensor data if appropriate. The signal is received by standard wireless access points, without any infrastructure changes needed, and is sent to a location engine. The location engine uses Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) and/or Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) algorithms to determine location coordinates, and sends location and status data to AeroScout MobileView. MobileView provides a single platform for all visibility data, to display maps, enable searches, automate alerts, manage assets and to work with third party applications.
The Sarreguemines factory, which is made up of several buildings, manufactures approximately 33,000 tyres a day. Previously, manually locating the large carriers used for material transport within the plant was an inefficient process that resulted in wasted time and materials. “We are confident that this project will result in a high return on investment, and that this technology will help us to boost production from 33,000 to 37,000 tyres per day,” stated Christian Matejicek, IT director, Continental France.
Belgian solution integrator PHI Data is responsible for implementing the AeroScout solution in Sarreguemines and integrating it with Continental Tire’s standard Wi-Fi network. With the solution, Continental employees can check where a carrier is located in real-time from a Wi-Fi enabled computer, helping to ensure that every carrier arrives at the right machine at the right time, reducing delays and errors while increasing daily output.
“We are pleased that Continental Tire is rolling out AeroScout’s WIP Tracking and Visibility solution at another of its factories,” said Janet Chaffin, senior vice-president and general manager of Industrial Solutions at AeroScout. “AeroScout is proud to help Continental Tire boost production at manufacturing factories in both North America and Europe.”