RFID Hardware and Software in the Automotive Industry
Kathrein Solutions, part of Kathrein SE which was founded in 1919, is a provider of turnkey Auto-ID solutions including hardware, software, services and support. One of the strongest areas of activity involves the automotive industry, for which the company designs new supply chain, track & trace, verification and inventory management solutions.
Complex automotive production requires the accurate tracking of vehicles through a multitude of production steps. Precise production planning is the key to successful results.
The Automotive Industry under Pressure
Global crises make it difficult to maintain continuous production in the automotive industry. Supply bottlenecks and material shortages are causing breakdowns along the entire value chain for just-in-time and just-in-sequence production. At the same time, demand for components is increasing. The value of semiconductor products installed in the automotive industry, for example, has increased by more than 70 percent in the period from 2014 to 2021, according to Statista. Many semiconductors are needed, especially for the production of electric vehicles. This and other trends are putting pressure on automotive manufacturers, who also have to manage increasingly complex production and logistics networks due to rising product diversity.
Challenges in Automotive Production
Special conditions in the automotive industry pose particular challenges for suppliers in the value chain (OEMs, suppliers and logistics service providers). Adherence to high, regionally varying production and safety standards is required in the value chain, especially for critical components. At the same time, the monitoring of these components is made more difficult because they are supplied to the OEMs by numerous different suppliers. In addition, the industry is characterized by harsh environments and metallic interference materials that have a negative impact on wireless communications.
The latest developments in Auto-ID technology are opening up new opportunities for the automotive industry in components tracking, supply chain and production planning. These benefits extend across all participants in the value chain. RFID, for example, is used to track a vehicle across all production steps. RFID readers are manufactured with special protective certifications that allow the devices to function even in harsh environments. An accurate inventory overview and product tracking using RFID and RTLS is possible.