Executive Briefings

Manufacturer of Industrial Air Conditioners Uses RFID to Track Parts

AL-KO, a German producer of industrial air conditioners for airport hangars and other spaces, is employing a radio frequency identification solution to plan its production more precisely, by tracking the movements of parts between two production sites located 550 kilometers (342 miles) apart.

Since most of the air conditioners that the company makes are customized for particular buyers, each model must be configured differently. This requires that different parts be grouped together for each order at a single location, and then be shipped to the company's final production site.

Parts, such as housings for the air-conditioning systems, are produced in the city of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, not far from Berlin. Final production of the air conditioners occurs in southern Germany, in the town of Jettingen-Scheppach. If a part is unavailable during production in Jettingen-Scheppach, the resultant delays can be costly to AL-KO, says Alexander Lins, an industrial engineer and AL-KO's head of warehouse logistics in Jettingen-Scheppach.

Before the RFID system was deployed, production managers were often unsure of which specific parts they had on hand at any given time.

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Since most of the air conditioners that the company makes are customized for particular buyers, each model must be configured differently. This requires that different parts be grouped together for each order at a single location, and then be shipped to the company's final production site.

Parts, such as housings for the air-conditioning systems, are produced in the city of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, not far from Berlin. Final production of the air conditioners occurs in southern Germany, in the town of Jettingen-Scheppach. If a part is unavailable during production in Jettingen-Scheppach, the resultant delays can be costly to AL-KO, says Alexander Lins, an industrial engineer and AL-KO's head of warehouse logistics in Jettingen-Scheppach.

Before the RFID system was deployed, production managers were often unsure of which specific parts they had on hand at any given time.

Read Full Article