Intel on RFID: Lessons learned, benefits earned

04/05/2007


Deploying radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies within Intel Corp. over the past four years has helped increase manufacturing and distribution efficiencies. RFID technologies of four years ago, compared to now, are like night and day, said two Intel engineers. They shared lessons learned and benefits earned at the 5th Annual RFID World conference and exhibition here, March 26-28, 2007.

RFID is ready for prime time and advantages continue to emerge, the Intel engineers said, creating business value from greater visibility, inventory reduction, process control, asset management, R&D, professional services with higher speed information and product flow. In one application, process improvements at an Intel warehouse resulted in 18-22% efficiency gains; of that, 5-7% was attributed to RFID use.

Technologies have improve significantly in four years, as has Intel's knowledge about implementation, suggested Debbie Mertzon, program manager, new business engagement (M&A/RFID), and Scott A. Thomas, customer fulfillment, planning and logistics group. Thomas noted that Intel benefits from its internal use of RFID, has just begun offering silicon specific for RFID readers, and expects that increasing RFID data collection and information processing will enhance sale of other microprocessor products. Real-time location services (RTLS), including RFID, are just at the beginning of their market curve, Mertzon said.

Internally, there's a lot to gain. The semiconductor manufacturer, founded in 1968, now tilts almost any scale. It has 93,000 employees, $35.4 billion revenue, 60,000 wafer starts a week, more than 100,000 products, 70,000 dealers, and more than 35,000 SKUs. Finding where to start was itself a challenge.

Current Intel RFID applications are within factories, IT, warehousing and storage, and throughout the supply chain. "It's tough to capture overall return on investment, but we're doing our best to measure that. There's tons of potential value and incidental benefits with each RFID implementation," Mertzon said. Warehouse cycle time, for example, went from 24 personnel hours to 17 minutes.

One big benefit area is asset management. Dies are transported on carts and, with more than $4 billion in fab tools, getting the right cart to the right station at the right time is important. Intel sees huge RFID potential for greater traceability. In manufacturing, what doesn't happen is hard to measure, but if better information flow results in avoiding one loss, it could save tens of millions of dollars.

Better local tracking also means less inventory is needed to replenish the supply chain. Chemical suppliers, for example, are using tags to inventory their products, which allows Intel to better manage related education and documentation.

For more on advances in RFID technology and system implementation advice from Mertzon and Thomas, see " RFID lessons: Improved technology leads to easier implementations ."

" What's Your RFID Spin? " from Control Engineering talks about the latest in RFID for manufacturing.

Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief,
Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.