A major producer of steel coils was in need of a real-time coil tracking system. They were monitoring the coil movement by having an employee "spotter" physically walk through the busy mill and miles of storage yards to take an inventory, or locate a single coil. It was a slow, potentially dangerous activity that could only provide data of limited value. It could take hours to locate a single coil in the vast yards since the constant movement of coils was completly undocumented. They needed to streamline coil movement procedures while recording each coil movement, increase yard safety, and control costs.
Our solution uses Intermec JG2050RF vehicle mount, RF data collection terminals, Cohu industrial cameras, and custom built video decoders. The Cohu cameras are mounted on the top of the ram tractor masts. Intermec 2100 RF access points are connected to the existing network permitting wireless access throughout the coil yard and related buildings. The Intermec 2050 vehicle mounted terminals function as remote 3270 emulation terminals communicating with the host mainframe over TCP/IP via the access points.
When specific coils are needed, the ram tractor driver logs into the system from his vehicle. He then operates the coil-tracking software as he would on a desktop terminal. The program directs him to the location of a particular coil. Using the camera, he scans the barcode label attatched to the coil and the system then tells him where to place the coil. If, for some reason, the camera is unable to read the barcode, the driver uses the attached Intermec 1517 long-range scanner to scan the label, or hand-enters the information directly on the terminal keypad. Since all the data is transmitted immediately, the coil's status is now accurate at all times.
All coil location and movement data is now available in real-time. Ram tractors can quickly locate and move the coils, and record the action as it happens. The need for human "spotters" has been eliminated; bringing an instant cost and safety benefit. Simply put: the company has greater control of the product, and the ramifications of that can be felt through the entire production line and on to the customer.