How AssetPulse’s RFID Tracking Solutions help you to efficiently track equipment you need only occasionally

How do you store & find excess equipment, molds, jigs & test equipment you need only occasionally?

RFID Tracking Solutions can be great for offsite storage tracking and fast retrieval. Here are the implementations and advantages we have seen:

Real Estate 100x Variance

R&D labs, clean rooms and manufacturing real estate can be 10x to 100x more expensive than offsite storage. These facilities optimize space usage and tend to remove any equipment not routinely needed.

Reasons why Companies store Equipment Offsite

  1. Companies that do repeated custom work need to quickly identify molds and equipment that is in storage.
  2. Companies that tend to do backward compatibility testing need a quick way to retrieve test and reference equipment.
  3. Different SKUs in R&D and manufacturing need different equipment and need to switch out equipment on their benches quickly and efficiently.
RFID tracking solutions
Photo by Dmitriy Suponnikov on Unsplash

AssetPulse RFID Tracking Solutions for Efficient Storage and Quick Retrieval of Lab Equipment

How AssetPulse RFID Solutions helped a large Biotech Company handle storage efficiently.

OFFSITE SIZE

  1. 30+ lab managers in 20+ buildings with need to exchange equipment between labs/cleanrooms & storage.
  2. 500+ pallets with thousands of equipment. Labs were assigned pallets they could manage and store.
  3. Offsite storage was laid out like a warehouse & run by warehouse managers.

RFID TRACKING DESIGN

  • Warehouse managers didn’t want to take responsibility for what was inside the pallet or train lab managers in any manner.
  • Lab managers could order pallets and they managed what went into it.
  • Warehouse tracking was done at the pallet level – they were only responsible for efficient storage and fast retrieval of pallets.
  • Warehouse wanted to add temporary staff who didn’t need extensive training to help in storage or retrieval or operations.
  • Layout had to be designed to optimize the height and volume of the building, while enabling quick retrieval.
  • AssetPulse developed the software and mechanism to enable the whole process.

RFID EQUIPMENT TRACKING SOFTWARE SPEC

  • Require minimal to no training for lab managers and warehouse personnel.
  • Provide Integrated views for lab Managers on pallets location & contents.
  • Provide an integrated view for warehouse on check-in and check-out, and other tracking aspects.
  • Have a quick way to dynamically find empty spaces and fill them with pallets. Much like how cars are stored in a multistorey garage.
  • Generate alerts if wrong location is used.
  • No Manual Entry should be required – use handheld readers, antennas, fixed readers, tags.
  • Add redundancy to minimize and eliminate loss.
  • Photo evidence where possible on pallet’s status on check-in/checkout.
  • Attach images of device and pallets for easy identification.

The above is our largest implementation. We have done several projects where stored equipment is in the same building needing only handheld reader, software and tags.

AssetPulse doesn’t manufacture any hardware – this enables us to source the best combination for our customers.

We develop the world’s best RFID Tracking Solutions.

AssetPulse’s RFID Tracking Solutions ensure efficient storage and fast retrieval of lab equipment from any where at any time!

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Why AssetPulse’s RFID Tracking Solution Stands Out from the Rest

Prospects ask – what is different about AssetPulse’s RFID tracking solution?

Over 15 years, we have developed proprietary RFID deployment and tracking technologies that help reduce deployment time/cost, increase tracking accuracy and enable expand-as-you-go deployments.

We have competed head-on at top labs, SMBs, technology companies, biotech, pharma, manufacturing companies, police, government, DOD and won – purely because we gave each of our customers a competitive edge that could not be matched by any other RFID solution provider.

RFID tracking solution

RFID Tracking Solution Partnered with Best-in-Class RFID Hardware Vendors

Almost every RFID hardware vendor (reader, antenna, tag) and technology provider wants to work with us, because they know we have had a good track record of getting into high-profile accounts while at the same time, can provide quickly deployable solutions for SMBs. Our vendor’s salespeople know very well that when they involve us as an implementation partner, they will almost always get a complex deal.

We are proud to say that we get all the advanced equipment, pricing, tags, roadmaps, etc. from all top vendors in RFID industry. So, we have a pulse on where a lot of technologies are heading.

We have a testing lab that stress tests all the hardware we work with. Our customers source hardware from us because we stress test all the new versions.

US Patented RFID Tracking Solution

Here is an example of the US patent we were granted (I am on the patent too!)

AssetPulse Patent – Systems and Methods to Detect Cross Reads in RFID Tags

We have several machine learning algorithms and hardware technologies that can do automatic testing of tags at various orientations that enable speedy and accurate deployments.

If you are thinking of deploying RFID in any manner, please call me. Even if our solution is not a fit for you, I will make sure you get enough data so that you can pick the right vendor and solution.

Talking to hundreds of prospects each quarter over the last 15+ years has helped me have a deep understanding of the RFID space. When we talk, you will be leveraging that knowledge at absolutely no cost.

We welcome VARs, Integrators & Partners

We have worked with several VARs, System Integrators & Partners. If you have an ongoing project, we can work with you. In fact, some of the biggest projects have come for us by leveraging relationships of existing contractors with customers.

Hardware vendors & integrators know that their chance of closing sales go up by 300% if they bring us to the table. Their customers clearly see that we have the experience to reduce deployment and implementation risk.

Reach out to us if you want to learn more about AssetPulse RFID Tracking Solutions.

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RFID & [WIP] Work-in-Progress Tracking System for Manufacturing Units

WIP Tracking, Work-in-progress tracking encompasses nearly all the phases of manufacturing. It starts with tracking raw material which includes Receiving and the Put Away process. AssetPulse’s RFID solutions can provide Real Time visibility of flow of materials through the production process. It allows for a lean and optimized production process by keeping the demand and build requirements in sync.

As WIP is converted to subassemblies, they are moved standalone or in bins, containers and totes. We work with the Manufacturing Engineers to determine what should be tagged – the physical subassembly itself or the containers which carry them. This is a function of the ease and practicality with which the subassemblies themselves can be tagged.

The factors to determine this include, the size of the subassembly, the material it is made of, the environment that the tag would be exposed to, contamination risk etc.  Class III Medical Devices and Semiconductor Wafers are cases where it is not likely direct-tagging is possible due to contamination risk. The extremely high temperatures in a firing process in industrial manufacturing may not allow for direct tagging.

Real-Time WIP Tracking Solution for Instant Visibility

Tracking WIP in real time provides accurate snapshots of exactly when it entered and exited a specific phase in production. Relying on personnel to ‘log in and log out’ WIP at each phase can lead to costly errors, especially in time-sensitive processes in medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing, where timestamps are also recorded.

WIP Tracking

WIP tracking can be accomplished in real-time or at critical junctures in the manufacturing process. This is also a function of the manufacturing environment. Industrial manufacturing floors lend themselves well to real-time tracking since there is typically, sufficient room to deploy RFID read-points on the floor. With respect to Clean Room Assembly lines, real-time tracking is possible with careful study of the lines and determining optimal RFID read-point locations at each workstation. AssetPulse has extensive experience with both industrial and Clean Room manufacturing operations.

Working closely with Manufacturing Engineering and Operations, we have successfully deployed our RFID solutions where bottlenecks, ‘waiting for parts’ stoppages, ‘completed too quickly’ steps, ‘taking too long’ steps, out-of-sequence steps etc. have been detected accurately and efficiently. Tracking Rework and scrapped parts provides visibility into oft-obscured parts of production.

WIP Tracking Solution with ERP Integration

AssetGather RFID solutions work hand-in-hand with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems during the entire manufacturing process. ERP systems track the virtual flow of raw materials through the processes while AssetGather’s RFID solutions track the physical flow. Real time updates back and forth between the two systems, allow not only for an efficient work flow, but also allows for maintaining integrity within the entire process by physically validating various process steps and alerting when an anomaly is detected.

It is highly recommended that all stakeholders in Manufacturing are involved in designing and deploying RFID solutions. Processes may need to be changed slightly or significantly, and in some cases, eliminated entirely. The initial scoping, design and redesign of processes is worth the effort, since this can result in a many-fold improvement in visibility, efficiency, accuracy and overall quality.

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How to Perform Efficient Asset Audits with RFID

rfid asset tracking inventory management

RFID is the Asset Manager’s great ally when it comes to annual asset audits…..

Wall to Wall Asset Audit Process

Do you find yourself preoccupied with your annual asset audit for at least three months every year? Annual or Semi-annual audits are the bane of the Asset Manager’s existence. No matter the type of assets to be audited – IT assets across the Enterprise, instruments in Labs, tools on the manufacturing floor or weapons in the Armory – the process is excruciatingly tedious and burdensome. If you currently use barcodes or worse, a highly labor-intensive manual process to do your wall-to-wall audits, we commiserate with you.

Having to crawl under desks or lab benches, reach behind assets in order to read off barcodes or serial numbers, is not only time consuming, but can also be injurious to your health! Often, teams of people are made to perform these audit tasks and it can take days, if not weeks. Once an audit is done of the entire company, considerable amount of time is spent reconciling the audited list with the list sent by your finance department.

Then the teams have the unenviable task of chasing down those assets that were not yet located the first time around. Now, equipment owners, lab managers, Principal Investigators and the like, are recruited to participate in the daunting task of having to track down the missing assets. After days of these expensive resources being deployed, the missing asset list is whittled down to a few dozen. The Finance department is then asked to write these items off. All in all, it is a costly and laborious process.

rfid asset tracking for asset audit

RFID Asset Ttracking Inventory Management
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/berkeleylab/3523139681/

RFID Asset Tracking Solution for Wall to Wall Asset Audit

1) Identify all assets that you need to audit and RFID tag them

By using RFID asset tracking solutions i.e. RFID tagging the assets, using an RFID handheld reader only or a combination of RFID handheld readers and fixed RFID readers, the organization can more efficiently and accurately complete its audits, with nearly 100% reconciliation. Audit times can be cut down by nearly 90%, i.e. if a manual audit of a building takes 20 hours, an RFID scanned audit will take less than 2 hours to complete.

2) Perform Asset Audit with RFID scanner

How often has an audit team found an asset stashed away in a cardboard box in the far corner of a room after having spent dozens of hours looking for it. If the asset had an RFID tag on it, it would have been picked up the first time someone walked by it with an RFID scanner. This is because RFID tags can be read from inside cardboard and wooden boxes.

3) Scan Multiple Assets with RFID as opposed to 1 by 1 scanning of Barcode

Scanning barcode tagged assets with a barcode scanner takes at a minimum 30 seconds per asset. This typically involves locating the barcode and then aligning the scanner in line with barcode to scan it. Whereas, scanning 100 assets that are RFID enabled takes less than 10 seconds. This enables the customer to be able to perform inventory scans more often and so asset information usually is up-to-date. Additionally, the AssetGather web application keeps track of each and every asset’s movement history. If during the audit process, a critical asset is not found, then the AssetGather web application can be used to identify where the RFID tagged asset in question was last seen. This helps save tremendous amount of time for the Inventory Manager who tries to locate an asset in a traditional barcode system.

4) 90% Faster Asset Audits and Efficient Locating of assets with RFID

Our customers have not only seen at least a 90% reduction in audit times, but have also not seen a need to write off inventory due to their inability to locate them. Further, they have realized more than 100% ROI in less than 2 years.

One of our happy customers

“The AssetPulse active RFID solution meets my needs for managing the ALS vacuum equipment pool. The inventory and search capability of the active system is invaluable during the yearly wall to wall inventory of the entire lab. Having an up-to-date inventory record of all assets will cut the time and labor cost to the lab to an ultimate minimum. Previously, wall-to-wall inventory has taken multiple weeks to manually find and scan these assets.”

– Frank Zucca, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Since the AssetPulse web application server keeps track of asset movement history, additional data can be gleaned out of the system like what types of assets are used extensively and how long an RFID enabled asset stays at a particular location. This will help the inventory management team to stock more of these assets so that these assets do not become a bottle neck for regular day to day work.

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Equipment Tracking and Calibration Management in Cleanrooms Automated with AssetPulse RFID Asset Tracking Solution

RFID Cleanroom

Do you know what equipment has to go to Metrology for calibration? Do you know when it was removed from the cleanroom and whether it has gone to Metrology? Was it brought back to the Cleanroom and if so, when?

Equipment Management in Cleanroom

Cleanroom management in a biotech or high-tech company poses several challenges, many of which, if not addressed effectively, can severely impact the company’s bottom line. One of the many challenges is facilitating the strict adherence of the calibration schedule for all test and measurement equipment. This means, not only ensuring that the equipment is removed from the Cleanroom and sent to Metrology, but also that the equipment is returned to the right location in the Cleanroom from Metrology.

Cleanroom management has very little visibility into this process. Several times, equipment may leave the Cleanroom, but is not delivered to Metrology in a timely fashion. Often calibration is completed, but the Cleanroom is not aware of it and the equipment is sitting on some shelf waiting to be returned to the Cleanroom.

asset tracking solution

Asset Tracking Solution for Lab Equipment Management in Cleanroom

A global medical device company faced similar challenges for several years. These problems were of course exacerbated by its explosive growth, thus exposing it to more severe consequences. Over the years, it tried to address them with process modifications and applying various technologies.  With the AssetPulse lab equipment tracking solution – a combination of well-selected RFID tags, appropriate reader configurations and well-tuned asset tracking system, they were able to finally address the problems effectively. Not only were they able to get complete visibility of how the RFID tagged test equipment moved between the Cleanroom and Metrology, but they were proactively alerted when there was a break in the process – when equipment wasn’t delivered to Metrology in a timely manner or if calibrated equipment wasn’t returned to the Cleanroom when ready.  

Automated Asset Tracking software

  • Equipment movement from and to Cleanroom were monitored in real time by Fixed RFID readers
  • Metrology doors/portals were instrumented with fixed RFID readers.
  • Additionally, shelves that held calibrated equipment, waiting to be picked by Metrology were RFID instrumented.

The AssetGather automated RFID asset tracking solution alerted Equipment Managers that calibration was completed and that they could pick up their equipment at Metrology. Automatic tracking alleviated the shortcomings of the manual process involved in keeping track of equipment moving between Cleanrooms and Metrology.

In order to realize the full potential of AssetPulse RFID asset tracking solution it is very critical to choose optimal RFID tags. Not only do they have to be mounted on very small pieces of equipment including 6” rulers, but they also have to withstand the sterile environment of the Cleanroom. This means they have to withstand chemical wipe-downs and sometimes more rigorous cleansing.  AssetPulse offers tried and tested RFID tags of different form factors and properties like the ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions and to sustain exposure to chemicals.

When it comes to High-Tech Cleanrooms, equipment might need to be sent to third-party calibration houses. One or more locations can be designated for holding equipment that is being sent out for calibration. These locations are monitored automatically and the Cleanroom Equipment managers can be notified when equipment is removed from these locations to be sent out. When they are returned from the Calibration company, the managers are notified, so they can go pick them up from those locations and place them back in the Cleanroom.

 

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