Southeastern Container is a co-op manufacturing 70% of the U.S. bottle production for Coca-Cola. DecisionPoint provided Southeaster Container with a plug-and-play EPC Gen 2 RFID system which was tested at its injection-molding facility in Enka, N.C. The RFID solution is used to track reusable bins used to transport preformed plastic tubes (or preforms) produced at its injection-molding facilities to its blow-molding facilities, where the preforms are then blown into soda bottles. Southeastern Container is now expanding the RFID solution to two other facilities. Eventually, the company will track up to 40,000 bins.
Southeastern Container decided to deploy RFID after replacing their cardboard containers with reusable plastic bins. The plastic bins offer a number of benefits, but are more costly that the cardboard containers so it’s important for Southeastern Container to confirm the plastic containers last as long as the manufacturer guaranteed. Southeastern Container uses RFID to count the number of cycles each bin is used to ship loads.
The company affixed a permanent EPC Gen 2 M-Tag to the side of the plastic bins after the bin’s surface is heated using a blowtorch. Depending on its size, a single bin can hold up to 20,000 preforms. When a tagged bin is packed with preforms, a worker applies a bar-code label to identify the type of preforms contained within. The bin is then moved through an RFID portal containing a Motorola XR440 industrial-class fixed RFID interrogator and an AN400 RFID antenna. As the portal reads the unique ID number from the bin’s RFID tag, an employee utilizes a Motorola MC9090-G mobile computer to scan the bar-code label. Asset tracking software then correlates the bin tag’s ID number with the products as identified by the bar code. This data is then passed to Southeastern Container’s ERP system.
The bin is then transported to a warehouse and, from there, on to the blow-molding facility. When the bin is emptied, an employee scans the bar code, deleting the record in Southeastern Container’s ERP system.