RFID network infrastructure provider Reva Systems is giving itself a pat on the back for helping Sony Europe “to successfully move from pilot to production.”
The magical antidote? Reva’s Tag Acquisition Processor (TAP) products, which combine item-level RFID tagging and digital video. The bottom line: better shipping efficiency, a reducting in shrinkage, and more.
One of Sony’s many challenges Reva’s TAP tapped into (pun intended!) is making six adjacent shrink-wrap stations in close proximity work better simultaneously.
Sony Europe Goes Live with Reva Systems for Combined Item-Level RFID & Video Tracking
Reva TAP enables unique proof-of-delivery application integrating RFID and Video with SAP backend systems
CHELMSFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Reva Systems, the leading radio frequency identification (RFID) network infrastructure provider, today announced that its Tag Acquisition Processor (TAP) products have enabled Sony Europe to successfully move from pilot to production operations with an RFID tracking system that combines item level RFID tagging and digital video to help the company increase shipping efficiency, reduce shrinkage and streamline their claims process.
Sony tags products for shipment with RFID labels and records the tag IDs on the items at each stage when they are picked, stacked and shrink-wrapped on pallets. An automated video system records the process, burns RFID data onto the video image and indexes the MPEG4 video stream according to the RFID information. The system also logs pallet movement through dock doors and onto trailers, combining video and RFID to provide visual and electronic proof-of-delivery. The project recently moved into production at Sony’s major European distribution warehouse in Tilburg, the Netherlands, where return on investment (ROI) in less than a year is expected, given Sony Europe’s volume of daily shipments and the high value of its products.
Reva’s TAP provides the critical system-level performance that Sony needed to overcome significant technical hurdles in the very difficult production environment. For example, there are six shrink-wrap stations located next to each other, each with as many as 200 tagged items being interrogated simultaneously. There are also overhead conveyor belts and product-laden fork lift trucks which drive past the shrink-wrap stations in close proximity. The TAP accurately determines tagged boxes and ascribes them to the correct pallets. The tag information as well as its location is then forwarded to the video server and Sony’s backend SAP system and data warehouse.
The system operates under European Listen Before Talk (LBT) regulations, thus the Reva TAP optimizes RF utilization by coordinating and scheduling more than a dozen Motorola/Symbol Technologies XR480 readers. Prior to this scheduling poor read performance was experienced. Due to the critical nature of the video application the Reva TAP is deployed in a dual configuration. This provides a single system image with automatic load balancing as well as full redundancy through bidirectional data mirroring.
“This is an extremely challenging RF environment, yet the system achieves 100 percent read rates with location accuracy while adhering to strict European regulations,” said Wolfgang Schönfeld, Senior Manager, Sony Logistics Europe B.V. “This level of performance would not be possible without the capabilities of Reva’s TAP. Reva uniquely understands the RF behavior within the entire facility. This results in optimal reader operations. Plus, the ease of configuration and the remote management console ensure that implementation and running costs are kept to a minimum.”
Mieloo & Alexander, based in Amsterdam, was selected as the systems integrator for this project. Mieloo & Alexander were instrumental to all phases of the implementation from process design to equipment installation and wrote the workflow code that runs on the TAP’s embedded Java environment to facilitate the processing operations. These workflows tie together different parts of the picking and shipping processes by prompting and accepting operator input as well as giving visual and auditory signals to the operator. They integrate with Sony Europe’s overall fulfillment processes and SAP warehouse management system via the Reva TAP’s standardized interfaces.