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RFID Helps Track Baskets of Small But Extremely Costly Parts

For businesses that manufacture aerospace, pharmaceutical or other high-value items, even a single component built into a product can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Losing track of a basket filled with parts can thus be extremely costly, due not only to each component's cost but the potential loss of production time if assembly is delayed. The solution may be RFID technology, according to Marlin Steel Wire Products, a producer of custom wire baskets and other metal products.

The company developed the system using RFID technology provided by Barcoding Inc. Each RFID-enabled basket comes with an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 passive tag attached to it, encoded with a unique ID number. Users then have the choice of using their existing RFID reader infrastructure, which they may already have in place, or purchasing readers and software to manage read data from Barcoding Inc.

Marlin Steel has provided the baskets to containerize and protect components within industrial or manufacturing sites for many years, says Drew Greenblatt, the company's president. However, he adds, customers reported that it was often challenging to locate a specific basket of components, or to track that basket's arrival at an assembly workstation.

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