Smart factory logistics

Author: Hayden Archibald

Archibald, Hayden, 2020 Smart factory logistics, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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The project looks at smart factory logistics for REDARC Electronics, a local electronics manufacturing company. REDARC has over 1000 discrete factory and warehouse locations that components and finished goods are tracked. This is requiring manual updating of database software, to reduce the labour in this process a system of automating the tracking of parts is proposed. Smart is defined as industry 4.0 and connected data driven process, factory refers to the location and logistics the flow of material. Previous research led to RFID as a preferred system for this application and REDARC supplied some equipment for validation and testing. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is technology that uses electromagnetic fields for tracking tags without the need for line of sight and its more automated than the likes of a barcode system. Being a wireless communication system there is the opportunity for data to be lost or degrade depending on the setup and environment. The aim of this project is to perform a factory trial of a system for stock tracking suitable for the REDARC environment as a proof of concept. The project was conducted with industry partners at REDARC that have supplied some equipment from previous investigations. The project was completed over 6 months produced clear finding for REDARC to consider when creating a business case on the benefits of a complete installation. Testing evaluated multiple types of RFID tags to find the optimal equipment combinations for the proposed system. A system featuring a read portal where antennas would be positioned at a gateway and the passive tags would be read when a trolley carrying materials in tubs pass the gateway was the outcome for the most suitable system for the intended use.

Keywords: RFID, Smart Factory, Industry 4.0

Subject: Engineering thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2020
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Nasser Asgari