According to Greg Stratis, Amesbury plant manager, E.F. Shea Concrete Products not only has been using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems from
According to Greg Stratis, Amesbury plant manager, E.F. Shea Concrete Products not only has been using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems from International Coding Technologies (ICT), Inc., of Beverly, Mass., but they also are the go-to demo partner for each system upgrade.
For years, RFID tags have been used by precast companies to assist with inventory control and cradle-to-grave traceability of pieces, each one featuring a castable, watertight bar-code inlay (called Cast-A-Code) that is scanned by a TrackCon handheld wireless device at each step in the production and shipping process. But, Shea Concrete believed that the handheld scanner might also be of use during its extensive QA/QC process. Being a National Precast Concrete Association-certified facility, the Amesbury plant seemed like an excellent testing ground for transferring into an electronic process the paper checklists that quality-control managers keep for each precast piece leaving the plant. So, after a piece is scanned and identified by the manager, the appropriate list of quality-control questions scrolls through the device, and the resulting data can be stored on an accessible server, rather than in one of dozens of boxes of records stockpiled in plant offices.
We can determine if a piece has been manufactured yet, whether it has moved on to be repaired, or gone into inventory, the job name, and when it was last scanned, says Stratis. We also have tags on the forms themselves, and we can tell what products are being made with which forms, and whether or not the concrete has been poured, or if the form is waiting to be used.
Stratis mentioned that other options his team is working on with ICT include a method of scanning inventory as it leaves the yard on a truck, either by putting a scanner on the truck, or placing scanners at the plant exit, much like an E-Z pass reader. We’re just trying to find foolproof ways of further automating this system, he says.