RFID & Barcode Labels in the Automotive Industry!
ALT Technologies is a global supplier of RFID solutions for the automotive industry. However, regular RFID tags and labels do not always comply with unique OEM specifications. Jelmer Sminia, Product Development Manager Europe and Erwin de Groot, Global Accounts Manager at ALT Technologies explain how this problem can be solved by combining the custom RFID tag with a traceability label.
What’s the current trend in automotive? RFID or bar code?
Erwin de Groot: The current standard in the automotive industry are barcode labels that contain detailed product information such as the production date and part number. However, we are now seeing an increasing number of OEMs that are requesting that this information be added to RFID labels instead. The whole idea around RFID is to simplify supply chain processes – so that you can scan car parts, track and trace these parts, and of course to locate each part in the warehouse. With RFID, it is possible to do a warehouse scan at any time to find out how many parts you have in stock. For this reason, RFID certainly has enormous benefits, compared to barcode labels.
However, in the automotive industry, information on barcode labels are required to be readable for 15-30 years. Currently, there is no RFID label that guarantees readability for this time span.
Is there a solution for this problem?
Jelmer Sminia: This problem can be solved by combining RFID with the traceability label. You can have the information printed on the barcode, but also have an RFID label inside. This is what we tend to do at ALT Technologies. Combining both RFID and barcode labels also reduces assembly costs and potential quality risks, since just one label is being developed.
What does the future hold for RFID labels in the automotive industry?
Jelmer Sminia: OEMs are currently demanding RFID labels for automotive parts and components. We definitely see a rise in RFID utilization in the automotive industry in the future. With RFID labels, more information can be added to the tag from production through the entire supply chain. This way, RFID-tagged components and parts are a great benefit to Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. In the end, we believe that RFID will prevail over barcode. This is not the case now, but will surely be so in the future.