With all the attention given to radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in recent months, very little of the coverage has focused on how well it works. Last month, two major businesses in the material handling industry announced that they had successfully completed integration testing of RFID with their high-speed conveying and sorting technologies. Siemens Dematic Material Handling Automation, the former Rapistan, had teamed up with Matrics Inc. to conduct the tests. Siemens Dematic designs and manufactures material handling systems; Ma trics is a provider of RFID technology.
RFID is a promising technology that uses radio tags and readers to identify items using radio waves.The technology is expected to see widespread adoption in distribution applications because of its ability to identify large numbers of items swiftly without requiring a direct line of sight. The technology received a major boost earlier this year when Wal-Mart said it would require its top 100 suppliers to begin using the technology by 2005 to identify cases and pallets.
Siemens Dematic and Matrics say they have implemented a conveying and sorting test loop that has achieved 100-percent read rates. The companies claim the prototype demonstrates the ability to read more than 200 individual cartons per minute with a minimum carton gap of six inches. The rates were measured using various carton sizes and without regard to label orientation or product density.