Europe-Wide Tracking of Seed Bags with UHF RFID
Production Control

Europe-Wide Tracking of Seed Bags with UHF RFID

Seed producer KWS identifies and tracks seed bags in the supply and value chain with UHF RFID.

The solution is currently integrated at 18 locations in Germany, France, Serbia, Ukraine, and Slovakia. These include ten production and seven logistics sites.

KWS, headquartered in Einbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany, includes plant cultivation and the production and sale of seeds in its core business. The company is active in 70 countries with more than 5,500 employees.

Process Requirements

KWS' objectives include a bulk capture of all seed bags, as well as a logistics solution that can capture full pallets and commissioned pallets during shipping. At the same time, the technological application must be integrated into the existing process and ongoing operations. Additional expenditure for production and logistics locations should be avoided.

Objectives

  • Making the supply chain and value chain transparent
  • Fully automated identification of seed bags
  • Tracking of each individual seed bag

Solution

The seed bags are already delivered to KWS tagged with a UHF RFID transponder. Each individual bag is recorded by permanently installed UHF RFID read/write heads on the conveyor line and the ID of the RFID chip is stored in the GRAIDWARE® middleware. A "virtual pallet" with counted bags is then compiled from the filling line data.

The filling stations at the respective production sites automatically palletize the fully loaded seed containers. When the pallet label is attached, product-related information is added to a database individually for each seed bag. Product and container information is married by identifying the shipping unit composed of individual bags via a permanently installed UHF RFID read/write head on the palletizer. A corresponding pack label is then assigned.

For shipment to the end customer, logistics companies have to partially open and rearrange the containers. For the subsequent reassembly of the bundle and seed container, a reliable identification of all bags on a pallet is crucial. While the pallets are being reassembled, the sacks are married to both the order data and the assignment to delivery documents.

Communication takes place via the middleware. All of the collected RFID and container data is transferred in encrypted form from the 18 locations to a central database in Einbeck.

If a defective RFID transponder is registered, the production line is automatically interrupted. The defective tag is removed from the production process together with the sack. Data on damaged bags or pallets is not only physically removed, but also deleted from the database directly at a deletion station on the production line.

Hardware & Software

  • Sigma Chemnitz – Middleware GRAIDWARE®

Advantages

  • Bulk capture of the seed sacks
  • Central database records data from 18 locations
  • Traceability at bag level throughout the entire supply chain
  • Intervention and troubleshooting are production-specific and possible without loss of time
  • Products are already captured from the start of production

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