RFID Used to Expedite Production of Vehicles for U.S. Defense Department

July 31, 2008
WhereNet Corp's active RFID system automates work-in-process tracking

Navistar Defense has deployed the standards-based WhereNet Corp.'s ,a Zebra Technologies company, active RFID, real-time locating system (RTLS) to automate work-in-process tracking at its West Point, Miss., manufacturing facility. Implemented in 30 days, the system helps reduce production costs and accelerate delivery of the MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles for the United States Department of Defense. MaxxPro MRAP vehicles are designed to protect troops from roadside bombs and other growing threats in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Among all of its other benefits, the system's impact on reducing cycle time aligns perfectly with our ultimate goal of rapidly delivering MRAP vehicles to the U.S. military to protect our troops in harm's way," said Rex Baldwin, IT project lead for Navistar Defense.

Spanning more than one million square feet indoors and out, the WhereNet system consists of a local infrastructure of 5 wireless WhereLAN location sensors and 13 WhereLAN locating access points that can be used for determining the location of assets as well as Wi-Fi mobile data communication; 400 active RFID WhereTag transmitters that are attached to MRAP chassis at the beginning of the armor-plating process; and WherePort magnetic "exciters" that trigger the transmitters to emit a signal when entering or leaving a specific work cell, enabling the system to automatically record such information as arrival, dwell and departure time without any human intervention.

The WhereNet Visibility Software Suite provides constant visibility for each tagged vehicle, enabling Navistar to track and manage the manufacturing of every MRAP vehicle as it passes through the assembly, paint, testing, adjustment and inspection processes. After the on-site Defense Department officials perform the final testing on each finished MRAP vehicle, the WhereTag transmitters are removed, and the vehicles are loaded onto flatbed trailers for final delivery.

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