In January, Luik Natie took a new cold store into use. It has space for 22,000 EUR-pallets. To optimally use the available space, this Belgian company went up, installing 16m-high racks. To automate the warehouse, Luik Natie called on the know-how of Aucxis RFID Solutions. "The company has expertise in both technology and knowledge of our product - the freshly frozen business. That convinced us to use them," explains Johan Cailliez, Luik Natie's CFO.
Luik Natie wanted to know, at all times, where each clients' products were. "To meet this requirement, we went looking for an automatic solution for pallet identification and localization solution," says Lauran D'hanis of Aucxis RFID Solutions.
"It had to also be suitable for use in the frozen food storage sector. It was challenging. The shelves are 16m high. The system had to be able to cope with that too. And it had to work in cold conditions. Not all hardware works at its best in a cold store with -20°C temperatures."
Atlas Item Identification & Tracking
Aucxis RFID Solutions' Atlas Item Identification & Tracking system offered a solution. "We proved that the Atlas Item Identification & Tracking solution gives an accurate, up-to-date overview of internal logistics movements. That was during a preliminary Proof of Concept." Lauran explains. "Each step of each pallet is monitored throughout its logistics flow in the cold store. That's thanks to the automatic location and load control. That makes manual actions like registrations, scanning, and data processing redundant."
“This system also provides real-time location information in the cold store. That means the reach trucks don't have to cover any unnecessary distances anymore. This working method saves a tremendous amount of product processing time. It also integrated seamlessly with the customer's system."
Luik Natie's clients will soon be able to view their stock in real-time. The company wants to develop this further. Customers must be able to indicate which batch they want to collect. "Say Luik Natie's clients implement RFID. Then the same load (tag) could be tracked throughout the chain. Tags costs could be divided among the various parties too," says Johan.
The Atlas RFID system has been up and running at Luik Natie since February. And, according to Johan, it's functioning very well. "That's partly thanks to our network integrator, Netflow's, stable WiFi network. Drivers can identify the pallets while sitting in the forklift. They no longer need to get out to do registrations."
"Locating goods with RFID is already common practice in the logistics sector. However, we use the Atlas solution to identify the load on the pallets. That's a unique application. We've equipped the pallets with RFID. So, our flow is dynamically monitored. There are also endless possibilities compared to traditional barcodes."
“We're delighted with this solution. The RF readers' correct position on the forklifts is still a bit of an issue. Operators´ field of vision is already limited. So, where to install another RF reader? Once people begin working with AGVs (automated guided vehicles), that won't be a problem anymore," Johan concludes.