24 Jul 2024

Unlocking the next level of warehouse efficiency

Turck Banner RFID

Space and stock are invaluable resources in warehousing. Efficient management is critical, and even a minor misplacement can result in significant financial loss. It’s no surprise that while a managing director’s office might not be tightly secured, a warehouse certainly is, with some distribution centres even implementing airport-style security to prevent any unintended exits.

Therefore, Turck Banner and its sister company, Turck Vilant, have introduced a sophisticated track-and-trace system that changes how warehouses operate, ensuring you always know what’s in your warehouse and where it is in real-time.

The challenges of traditional warehousing systems

Warehousing systems have evolved, yet many traditional methods still face inefficiencies. The simplest warehouses often use alphanumeric shelf locations. This method, while straightforward, requires a dedicated space for each product, whether stocked or not. This setup leads to wasted space and is prone to errors, as human intervention is necessary for tracking goods in and out.

A more advanced approach, the chaotic warehouse system, assigns storage based on quantity and product dimensions rather than part numbers. This allows for better space utilisation but still depends on the accuracy of human operators to ensure items are placed and picked correctly.

Barcode systems enhance these methods by enabling operators to scan items when picking or placing them. However, barcodes have limitations: they require line-of-sight, can only be read one at a time, and errors can occur if an operator scans the same item multiple times incorrectly. This system also struggles with large quantities.

Advancements with RFID and RTLS technologies

RFID technology offers a significant improvement. Unlike barcodes, RFID tags can be read from a distance without a direct line of sight, and multiple tags can be scanned simultaneously. This allows for inventorying entire pallets without removing items from containers. Despite these advantages, RFID systems can still be compromised if items are moved without the system’s knowledge.

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) represent another leap forward. RTLS uses fixed beacons within a warehouse to triangulate the positions of tagged items, similar to how GPS works. Technologies like UWB (Ultra-Wide Band) and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) ensure high accuracy and low power consumption, making RTLS ideal for tracking high-value assets, vehicles, and personnel within a warehouse. However, the high cost of RTLS tags, which often require batteries, limits their use for lower-value items.

Integrated warehousing solution

Turck Vilant combines the strengths of RFID and RTLS to offer an integrated warehousing solution. Its system tracks the positions of forklifts and other transport devices using RTLS. By integrating height data from the forklifts’ forks and an RFID reader mounted on the trucks, the system can precisely inventory pallets and their contents in real-time. This comprehensive approach ensures that every pallet’s location is automatically updated whenever it is moved, eliminating errors caused by unauthorised movements.

This technology proves particularly valuable in industries where real-time inventory is crucial, such as the medical sector, where track-and-trace is a legal requirement. Turck Vilant’s solution provides complete, real-time stock inventory at the push of a button.

Balancing cost and efficiency

Balancing the cost of tracking methods with the value of the items being tracked remains a challenge. Turck Banner says its team of experts  are committed to finding cost-effective solutions and continuously advancing technology to enhance warehouse efficiency.

Company info: Turck Banner