Italian textile maker Griva said it has realized a 30% return on investment on the RFID system it installed about 10 months ago, which replaced its existing bar-code system to track its automated fabric-making processes.
The project is the first fabric rolling tracking application that is compliant with the global EPC standards, said Alien Technology, which supplied the RFID tags and readers to Griva.
The ROI came in the form of time management savings and increased traceability of the fabric rolls, said Griva, which is based in Torino.
Until recently, we could not accurately control the contents of the roll using bar code technology, said Griva chief executive and owner Gualtiero Casalegno. By implementing an EPC-compliant fabric roll RFID tracking solution, we have reduced expenses, saved time and improved customer satisfaction with our finished products.
Griva produces more than 300,000 rolls of fabric every year, and sells finished fabric for upholstery and drapery to leading European retailers such as Leroy Merline and Quelle.
Essentially, Griva takes raw thread materials from suppliers and makes it into fabric, which is then washed, dyed and dried. Once the fabric is finished using weaving machines, an automation process determines that the correct fabric roll undergoes the correct treatments and processes.
The company said all the problems it faced in guaranteeing traceability during the phases of production and logistics had been solved by its RFID implementation. Most of those problems were the result of the textile manufacturing process itself: high temperatures at the stations where the fabric is shrink wrapped; water and high humidity levels; and the harsh chemicals used during the dying phase.
For example, the RFID tags passed the plastic film test that previous tracking methods hadn’t been able to because the film used on the fabric roles hid the bar code. RFID, however, made it possible to track fabric pieces that were already packaged and ready for delivery, Griva said. This saved time and gave customers more accurate information.
Specifically, Griva used the Alien 8800 UHF passive reader and writer, as well as EPC-compliant Gen 2 Squiggle tags. Third-party services provider Simet supplied the reader-to-ERP interface middleware, which dovetailed into Griva’s enterprise resource planning software.
As a result, Griva can now trace the fabric roll at the onset of the production process right until shipment. The company’s main centre covers a surface area of 5.000 square metres plus a completely automated warehouse of 1.000 square metres.
Morgan Hill, California-based Alien said the implementation was a showcase for RFID within the textile industry.