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Valtra Automates Material Flows with RFID

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Valtra has automated the material supply process and material buffer management with RFID at its’ Suolahti tractor manufacturing plant. The RFID system implemented by Vilant Systems triggers replenishment orders based on material consumption movements directly to the suppliers. Goods receiving is automated with RFID enabled conveyors and RFID gates at the dock doors and material stock levels are maintained in real time. The system improves material handling efficiency and reduces manual errors. The real time material inventory information and inbound shipment data enable prevention of material shortages.

Vatra’s system is based on RFID enabled forklifts that read material pallets while transporting them from the material buffer to the consumption area and trigger replenishment orders. The system is based on pallets that have reusable RFID tags. Goods receiving dock doors and inbound conveyors are equipped with RFID readers for automatic goods reception. Vilant’s RFID software controls the RFID readers and integrates the information to Valtra’s ERP system.

The Vilant Server 5 RFID software system presents real time inventory information of the material buffer. For each material a target buffer amount is set. For single materials the buffered quantity can be followed. The buffered amount, pending replenishment orders and inbound shipments are visible. The information is based on Valtra’s RFID readers and readers deployed to suppliers.

The material flow visibility provided by the RFID system can improve material availability at the factory. Goods receiving automation saves labor cost in the inbound process. Real time visibility of goods movements enhances control and inventory information is more accurate. The real time replenishment for material consumption improve inventory cycle time. In total the RFID system improves many areas of material flow. Improving material flow is one of the key components of modern Lean production improvement methodology.

Valtra’s Supply Chain Manager Timo Husso has expanded RFID development to new areas already: ”Thorough preparation work for this system implementation was started already in 2003. We conducted an RFID pilot that gave us satisfactory results and experience. New application areas emerged quickly, too. We have implemented production traceability and internal material movement automation with RFID already.”

Valtra’s RFID system is based on Vilant Server 5 RFID software and Vilant’s RFID hardware products. Prior to production use the system was piloted with Valtra’s supplier Metalpower. The IT systems were implemented in partnership with Tieto and Liaison.

Vilant Systems Oy, Tel.: +358 (0)50 328 8001, ville.kauppinen@vilant.com , www.vilant.com, www.valtra.com

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