RFID-BASED AUTOMOTIVE NETWORK (RAN) RESEARCH PROJECT
Full information in all processes - this dream is a big step closer for the automotive industry. The RFID-based Automotive Network (RAN) research project established in January 2010 and funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) is now entering a phase in which initial successes are becoming visible. The aim of the joint project is to establish standards for the automotive industry, which enable the company-wide, transparent and more efficient control of logistics and production processes. The RAN project is part of the “Autonomics: Autonomous, simulation-based systems for small and medium-sized enterprises” technology programme, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) as part of the IT summit’s flagship project “Internet of Things”.
The project aims to develop new ways of data acquisition as well as limitless data provision and bundling. The innovative integration competence provided by EURO-LOG AG plays an important role in the practical illustration and implementation of the solution scenarios. The specialist for IT and process integration, with its headquarters in Hallbergmoos, is now involved in the RAN project in six of seven use cases with company-wide information systems.
LONG SUPPLY CHAIN, QUICK CONTROL
The consistent, efficient control of a vehicle's value chain, from the material procurement through to production and delivery as well as the customer service requires the bundling of all the accompanying information. As a result, a central focus of the RAN project is the realisation of an Infobroker concept. It enables all value creation partners to exchange process-related data in real time, including assistance systems, which proactively report planned and actual deviations as an event. While this scenario was previously only able to be realised with gaps in the automotive industry, EURO-LOG has already made this a reality in various projects. The integration specialist operates an in-house ISO 27001-certified data centre in which it bundles and processes data from various sources to provide intelligent real-time information for customers from retail, logistics and industry. This creates transparent supply chains, from procurement through to the end customer.
This experience allowed EURO-LOG to quickly implement a completely transparent monitoring of a multi-modal transport chain together with Daimler AG in a use case for the RAN project. Thanks to the latest integration technology, EURO-LOG procures all the relevant information along the intercontinental process chain, from various data sources, such as OEMs, shipping companies and international service providers, in real time and makes it available as intelligent status information. An internally developed service also ensures that all participants are informed of the delivery status of parts or components in real time, even if they are still in transit. This reliable, real-time information system corresponds to the architecture and functionality of the Infobroker, which, at the end of the RAN project, is expected to protect the process partners from high material costs, special promotions, production failures and quality problems and allow vehicles to be traced in great detail.
STRONG PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATION
The quick and pragmatic implementation success in the Daimler AG use case also recommended EURO-LOG as an implementation partner for further projects within the RAN research consortium. According to the RAN initiators, there are plenty of reasons for this in the automotive industry. After all, excessive inventories, long lead times, poor traceability and high error-tracking costs are generally the consequence of a low level of information.
“However, these days, the cloud enables virtually limitless and affordable access to all existing systems and data”, explains Jörg Fürbacher, CEO of EURO-LOG AG. For Fürbacher the pragmatism of current solutions lies in hybrid information procurement. As illustrated in a RAN use case with BLG Logistics and Opel, EURO-LOG therefore processes RFID-data as well as barcode information or existing data from ERP systems and combines this to create intelligent information. This enables the Opel vehicles located with RFID technology, which are ready for distribution, to be linked directly with the relevant information from the ERP system, the EDI data from the logistics service provider and the dealership systems. The dealer can therefore precisely notify their customer of the delivery of their car. The actual delivery to the end customer is also visible for all participants in the supply chain in real time and direct billing is possible.
MAKE RFID USEFUL
RFID data alone one realises part of the achievable benefit. Organisational and economic added value only arises by linking the collected data with the existing plan and actual data of other systems and partners. EURO-LOG is looking to illustrate the effect that this utilisation of RFID data has in automotive reality in a RAN use case together with BMW.
The car maker has developed a modern RFID infrastructure for recording containers as part of a research project. To fully exploit the procedural and economic benefits of the scanned RFID event data, these will be fed into the EURO-LOG container management system as part of the RAN project. The system can determine the inventories of all connected partners as well as their mutual account balances at the push of a button. In fully integrated systems, such as the Infobroker, the RFID data is turned into holistic real-time information.
THE LOOK INTO THE FUTURE ALSO LOOKS BACK
Transparency from the data cloud not only opens the perspective towards the future for participants in the automotive industry, but also the view of convenient opportunities for the detailed tracking of components. EURO-LOG AG is currently working together with the consortium partner Johnson Controls, formerly Keiper GmbH & Co. KG, and Opel on the implementation of another RAN use case in which suppliers of parts of individually configured seats can be determined. The data, such as torque-critical screws, which are saved on RFID in production, are read out and transferred to the information system. This allows the workshop to immediately identify the source of the spare part during repair and access all the detailed information about the vehicle as required.
In several of these RAN subprojects, EURO-LOG also operates the EPCIS repositories, which could be units of the targeted Infobroker beyond the end of the project in December 2012.
EURO-LOG CONTACT FOR THE RAN RESEARCH PROJECT
„With the help of EURO-LOG we achieved our goal, transparency over the entire transport network, in a very short time. Within one year a ROI was ensured.“
Armin Bergbauer, CIO Germany & Senior Director Application Development Europe,Ingram Micro Distribution GmbH
„The combination of container management and app helped us to make our container management processes simpler and shorter.“
Thomas Kraft, Managing Director Logistics, HYDAC Verwaltungs GmbH
„The smartphones are much more cost-effective than our previous hardware. In addition, the app has been well-received by our drivers since it is very intuitive and easy to use with the clearly understandable icons.“
Frank Reichert, Branch Manager, Beeger Internationale Stückgut Logistik GmbH