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CEBIT 2009 - More and more users are investing in radio frequency identification (RFID)

11.11.2008: CEBIT 2009 - More and more users are investing in radio frequency identification (RFID)

* AutoID/RFID Solutions Park with solutions for all branches of industry in Hall 7

* Market for RFID technologies set to grow by 23 per cent in 2009

. Gourmets love the piquant aroma and taste of good cheese. But both are only formed through a complex process of maturation, in which the storage time, temperature, humidity and air pressure all play their part. In order to ensure the consistent quality of all their cheese products, modern cheese factories have turned to high technology - and specifically to radio frequency identification.

The freshly made cheeses are fitted with so-called RFID tags, which check and monitor every stage of processing: the transfer of the cheeses to the right ripening rooms, storage of the cheeses for the correct period of time at the right temperature, and even the right packaging. RFID not only reduces the quota of errors and improves the quality of the product - it also ensures that the ripening rooms are utilized to full capacity.

As the cheese-making example illustrates, most RFID applications do their work quietly, behind the scenes. By contrast, at CeBIT 2009 RFID takes centre stage, as exhibitors in Hall 7 demonstrate RFID solutions for industrial use. The highlight of the presentation is the 2,000 m² AutoID/RFID Solutions Park.

Here visitors can see examples of best practice across a range of sectors - aviation, transport, logistics, commerce, the consumer goods industry, manufacturing and healthcare - as well as treatment of themes such as the Internet of the future, asset management, product life-cycle management and protection against plagiarism. To round off the offerings, the AutoID/RFID Forum will be hosting more than 50 presentations and panel discussions.

"CeBIT 2009 will highlight the immense potential of RFID and demonstrate with the aid of concrete examples how commercial value can be enhanced at every stage of the process chain by the use of RFID", explains Dr. Sven-Michael Prüser, Vice-President of CeBIT. "Any company that wants to streamline its business processes simply has to employ the latest key technologies."

Ingenious applications: RFID technology in action

The multiple benefits that result from using RFID (fewer errors, quality gains, optimum use of available capacities) have prompted a definite surge in interest from users. The market research company IDTechEx is forecasting worldwide sales of 2.16 billion transponders for 2008, an increase of over 24 per cent compared with the previous year. And IDTechEx expects that growth to be sustained in 2009 and 2010, with further estimated increases of 23 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is taking a similarly optimistic view. In a worldwide survey it found that 46 per cent of the 155 IT companies interviewed were already using RFID solutions - compared with 34 per cent in 2007. The sheer variety of possible applications for RFID is well illustrated by the following examples, all of which can be seen at CeBIT 2009 from 3 to 8 March.

Better safe than sorry: drug dispensing in hospitals

Hospital patients can now wear RFID armbands that store information about blood group or prescribed drugs. The corresponding labelling of the drugs in the dispensary speeds up the issuing of drugs and protects the patient from dangerous mix-ups and counterfeit medicines.

Radio chips attached to containers for stored blood not only provide information about blood group, but also about the length of time the blood has been stored and the temperature variations it has been subjected to. At the same time all kinds of different processes in hospitals, e.g. in the area of documentation or logistics, can be made more efficient by the use of RFID, thus saving money for the health services.

So, for example, hospital beds and portable equipment can be electronically labelled with RFID tags, making them instantly traceable when needed.

Once is not enough: multiple re-use of drums and containers

With transport containers that are re-used many times, such as drums, crates or wire cages, the user is often interested not just in where a container is at a given point in time in order to make the best use of logistical resources, but also in the past history of the container. This can be important when shipping aluminium casting alloys, for example, which need to arrive in a liquid state for further processing.

Programmable RFID tags can store information such as what type of alloy was last transported in the crucible. If a similar alloy is going to be shipped next time round, then it is unnecessary to carry out extensive cleaning. Furthermore, the crucible profile can also be used to log and verify product quality and condition.

One-off creation: RFID tags track fashion on the move

Clothing manufacturers need to be very precise when recording the orders and special requests of their customers, and they need to ensure that this information gets passed on down through the production chain without mistakes or errors. RFID solutions help to facilitate the smooth transfer of merchandise between the factory or workshop and the central warehouse and distribution centre.

They also play an important role at the end of the production chain, because a number of fashion houses use RFID tags to keep track of stock levels and stock location. Sales staff can check on the available items and sizes in a matter of seconds, and out-of-stock merchandise can be placed on order very quickly.

Clear labelling: RFID closes gaps in the refrigeration chain

The shelf life of food depends on maintaining the integrity of the refrigeration chain. So RFID tags with built-in sensors are used to monitor temperature and other environmental factors while the goods are in transit.

At the end of the supply chain the stored readings are displayed on monitor screens. Products that have not been transported in the proper manner are banned from the supermarket shelves. The end result is better-quality produce in the shops, enabling consumers to buy salads that are crisp, meat that is appetizing, and dairy products that are fresh. 

 

- Deutsche Messe Hannover -

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11.11.2008 / MaP

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