With the rapid development of the global economy, the auto industry competition becomes stronger and stronger, some auto manufacturers are highly digitalized, while others still use traditional manual ways for recording. Although most companies have established their information systems, most of them have serious inconsistencies in the degree of informatization. To keep strong competence in the industry, auto manufacturers hope to establish an identification system to optimize the operation, improve efficiency, and reduce error rates. The RFID applications in automotive industry is potentially a major application area of RFID technology.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is an ideal identification technology that has developed rapidly in recent years. It obtains data information through non-contact identification of the object. Compared with traditional barcode technology, it has the characteristics of large data capacity, non-contact identification, long storage time, stain resistance, and adaptability to harsh environments. Thus, it is widely used in various industries.
A typical RFID automatic identification system consists of the following parts: RFID tag, RFID reader/writer, and interface module. The interface module is connected with PLC, PC, and other control units by bus or serial communication.
Establish a central database on the site of the enterprise workshop as an information platform for the circulation of goods to facilitate overall standardized management. RFID technology is used to assign an identification number (ID) to each work-in-process component, which is the name of the component in the information network. Through RFID technology, the production status and inventory situation are mapped to the information network, registered in the field center database, and then transmitted to the information system (such as ERP, MRP).
RFID-based production line monitoring can realize automatic control and detection as well as save costs. RFID tags can be uniquely identified for each product, record the raw materials and sources, production line location, production process, and inventory status of each product through the application, to provide an effective basis for companies to better manage production and adjust inventory.
The automobile manufacturing industry is a typical large-scale production process with multiple processes and multiple materials. Nowadays, with the development of personalized cars (buyers can customize the car), it is necessary to apply RFID technology to achieve transparency in the entire production process. The automobile industry can be simply divided into three basic segments: components manufacturing, vehicle assembly, and after-sales service. At present, RFID technology is mainly used in components manufacturing and vehicle assembly. Whether it is a components production plant or a vehicle assembly plant, manual management of a large number of components and complex and numerous manufacturing processes is not only error-prone but also unable to quickly improve operational efficiency.
In the early car body welding production lines, manual methods were mostly used. It is easy to make mistakes if you read the written operation manual step by step. Later, it gradually switched to bar code label management. Although this reduces the human error rate, recognition errors often occur due to the influence of dust, high temperature, and oil pollution on the production site. In the case of a hood identification, no matter the barcode label or manual operation, it cannot be used with confidence.
By choosing high-temperature, dust-proof, metal-proof, anti-magnetic, reusable packaging labels, and monitoring the welding production line through automatic identification. Operation instruction information (vehicle type information, welding instruction information, program, etc.) can be stored in the target tray. To avoid the influence of people and machines, the antenna can be installed in a higher place on the welding production line. Due to the strong pollution resistance and durability of RFID tags, errors are greatly reduced and the visibility of the internal supply chain can be effectively improved.
The automotive coating production line has many complicated processes, large model changes, and great production flexibility. The purpose of car painting: every car sold makes consumers unique and satisfied, Therefore, each process of the workshop production line must have a very high level of automation and quality monitoring system. the use of RFID technology in the car body identification system of the production line can collect all kinds of on-site data, status monitoring, and quality inspection information in the production process in real-time and send it to the production control center in time.
In the automobile coating production line, the conveying equipment is a skid conveyor. An RFID tag with a temperature resistance of 240°C is installed on each skid carrying a car body. In the entire production process, this tag runs with the workpiece and collects data that moves with the body, becoming a “smart car body” that carries data with you. According to the different needs of production technology and management, on-site reading and writing stations can be set up at the entrance and exit of the paint shop, the branch of workpiece logistics, and the entrance of important technological processes (such as paint spraying room, drying room, storage area). Each on-site reading and writing station handle the writing of skid, body information, spray color, and frequency, and send the information to the control center.
RFID technology combined with Ethernet and CAN bus can form a complex automatic control system that enables the flexible production of automobile coating production line, improves the automation level of automobile body production, and the flexibility of adapting to different types of products so that the system has reliable performance and fault tolerance.
As the final stage in the production of a complete vehicle, the assembly shop involves many parts and processes, which play an important role in ensuring the quality of the vehicle and the production schedule. Any interruption of the assembly process means a delay in the operation. On the final assembly line, especially on the assembly line that adopts the JIT (Just In Time) production mode, raw materials, and parts must be delivered to the workstation on time, and the inventory and material supply must also match the vehicle assembly schedule. Before the adoption of RFID technology, automobile manufacturers used bar codes or paper identification cards to track and monitor the progress of vehicle assembly in real-time manually. The disadvantage is that barcodes and identification cards are extremely easy to be destroyed, exchanged, or lost, resulting in incorrect operations in production operations.
Take Ford Motor Company as an example. Its Mexican plant began to use RFID technology to solve the above problems several years ago. The factory installs recyclable and reusable RFID tags on the hangers of assembled vehicles, and then compiles the corresponding serial number for each assembled vehicle, and writes this serial number into the RFID tag with a reader. Labels with detailed requirements for the car run along with the assembly conveyor. Install the reader at the appropriate position at each work point to ensure that the car completes the assembly task without error at each assembly line position.
When the rack carrying the assembled vehicle passes the reader, the reader can automatically obtain the information in the RFID tag and send it to the central control system. The system collects production data and quality monitoring data on the production line in real-time and then transmits them to material management, production scheduling, quality assurance, and other related departments. In this way, functions such as raw material supply, production scheduling, quality monitoring, and vehicle quality tracking can be realized at the same time, and various malpractices of manual operation can be effectively avoided.