Executive Briefings

Electronics Factory Uses RFID to Manage Assembly of Cisco Circuit Boards

Electronics manufacturer Jabil has been applying radio frequency identification tags to some of the printed circuit boards assemblies (PCBAs) that it manufactures for Cisco Systems. As a result, according to B.J. Favaro, Cisco Systems' supply chain manager, and Bill Hajje, Jabil's global process manager, the firm has improved the efficiency of its production process by approximately 80 percent, benefiting both companies.

In 2008, a Cisco hardware engineer collaborated with Jabil to employ RFID in a circuit-board design to store data about the host board. At that time, Jabil began placing EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags containing 512 bits of user memory on each of a select line of circuit boards. The purpose, the companies report, was to replace paper and pen for recording data, such as a product's board ID, release version and test results, during the design stage. Jabil attached a Murata MagicStrap RFID tag (designed specifically for mounting on PCBs) to a copper-free zone near the circuit board's edge, and coupled it to the board's ground plane. An outside vendor provided software and systems-integration services for the RFID deployment.

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In 2008, a Cisco hardware engineer collaborated with Jabil to employ RFID in a circuit-board design to store data about the host board. At that time, Jabil began placing EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags containing 512 bits of user memory on each of a select line of circuit boards. The purpose, the companies report, was to replace paper and pen for recording data, such as a product's board ID, release version and test results, during the design stage. Jabil attached a Murata MagicStrap RFID tag (designed specifically for mounting on PCBs) to a copper-free zone near the circuit board's edge, and coupled it to the board's ground plane. An outside vendor provided software and systems-integration services for the RFID deployment.

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