RFID has long been touted as the future of logistics for all companies by allowing retailers and suppliers to track goods throughout the supply chain. Data collection and management is one of the biggest problematic areas in implementing the technology.
Mandates driven by retailers such as Wal-Mart and Metro in Germany are pushing suppliers to use the technology for supply chain management.
The Simatic RF-Manager from Siemens manages read and write devices, collects and compresses RFID data and makes it available to the merchandise information system.
The software is designed for logistics and distribution management - from the identification of individual products to the automatic recording of entire flows of goods, Siemens stated.
The new software manages readers, collects the data these supply to the RFID tags and compresses the data to the accuracy and volume required by the merchandise information system.
Every individual tag can be accessed for reading or writing data or EPC-compliant product identifiers.
The software uses graphical editors to allow users to configure the RFID devices, and configure them throughout a plant. The readers can be tuned during startup and operation with refined dialogs and a powerful messaging system.
During operation the new software has functions for processing mass data in order. It can selectively supply the merchandise information system with the information.
For example, the multiple recording of RFID data carriers is automatically detected and filter algorithms reduce the volume of data, Siemens stated. This methods avoids incorrect postings or costly corrections in the merchandise information system.
The Simatic RF-Manager can be combined with the Manufacturing Execution System Simatic IT. This allows the RFID data to be converted to business-related information and used for controlling the business processes, Siemens stated.
The software is in compliance with the EPCglobal (Electronic Product Code) standard. EPC is an international trade standard designed to drive RFID use forward in the UHF (ultra high frequency) range. The standard was developed so that manufacturers are using compatible devices and RFID technologies.
Yesterday Rollin Ford, Wal-Mart's new executive vice president and chief information officer, strongly endorsed RFID technology at the biannual CIO summit, hosted by Wal-Mart on Wednesday in the US.
Ford told the audience of CIOs that he intended to build on the success of his predecessor in getting suppliers to use the technology.
Ford reaffirmed the company's commitment to the EPC standard.
"When Gen 2 was released we planned to make it our standard at the beginning of this year," Ford said. "We have done that, and I can confirm that we will be sunsetting Gen 1 on June 30."