GEL-AL, based in Turkey, produces over 83 million pairs of socks annually for many of the world's best-known brand names in sportswear. Each day at its plant, approximately twenty thousand sock-filled plastic totes travel throughout the various production stations. The company announced it has recently completed a closed loop, EPC compliant tote application resulting in a 40% improvement in productivity at its Istanbul manufacturing site.
STS, a RFID systems integrator based in Turkey, equipped each tote with an Alien Technology high-performance UHF/EPC compliant M-tag (inlay), which has been converted into a plastic ISO card. Individual totes are pre-programmed with a unique asset code consisting of the tote ID number, the work order and the sequence number. There are twenty read points' within the facility, with roughly thirty totes passing the various reading points at any given time.
"Before we implemented a RFID tote tagging system, we used large sacks to transport the socks internally to the various work stations -- using barcode labels on the sacks and manually scanning each tote, which was very time-consuming and not very productive," said Mr. Aydin Dogan, GEL-AL's IT specialist. "We outfitted Alien's field-proven ALR-8800 at each read point, targeting about four meters of read range and the Alien RFID system is achieving 100% read performance." The RFID solution has eliminated the former line-of-sight barcode solution and dedicated personnel are no longer required to oversee the traceability of the sock laden totes.
Alien has installed a number of closed-loop UHF EPC compliant applications throughout Europe, South Africa and Middle East over the past few years according to Stephen Crocker, director sales/channels EMEA and India for Alien Technology. "Once the customer realizes the tremendous production control advantages UHF RFID solutions can provide over conventional data capture systems, the next logical step is to expand the usage by tagging at the item-level. STS' integration expertise has made the GEL-AL deployment a showcase for RFID success within the tote industry."
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