WhereNet says that Ford Motor Company of Canada is deploying its radio frequency identification, real-time locating system technology at the automaker's Oakville Assembly Complex (OAC) in Ontario. Covering the entire 5.4 million-square-foot OAC facility, the implementation will be the largest real-time locating system-powered yard management system for an automotive manufacturer in the world, according to WhereNet, Santa Clara, Calif.
The WhereNet Fast Gate system puts a "wireless cloud" over the entire complex, with active RFID WhereTag transmitters permanently fixed to trailers belonging to Ford's dedicated suppliers (and temporarily fixed to others); 14 WherePort magnetic "exciters" positioned at each gate; and a local infrastructure of 68 wireless WhereLAN locating access points spread throughout the complex. When a truck approaches a gate, the WhereNet Fast Gate system senses the WhereTag, cross-references detailed information about the truck in a database, and automatically opens the gate to grant entry if the truck and its load are authorized.
The driver then drops the trailer load at any one of 177 receiving dock doors and departs via a similar automated checkout procedure, without ever having to leave the cab. Meanwhile, the WhereNet system captures the location of each trailer and precise information about its cargo and wirelessly transmits that information to a database.
OAC builds the Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans; this fall, the plant will begin production of the 2007 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover utility vehicles.
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