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Executive Editor

Sun shines light on RFID

Apr 19, 20042 mins
Network SecurityRFID

Not only does Sun provide infrastructure and middleware for radio frequency identification projects, but the vendor is a user of the technology.

Not only does Sun provide infrastructure and middleware for radio frequency identification projects, but the vendor is a user of the technology.

The vendor recently completed a four-month RFID pilot in one of its Newark, Calif. manufacturing facilities, says Vijay Sarathy, group marketing manager for Sun RFID. As part of the pilot, Sun tagged items, such as server chassis, that get moved around during manufacturing.

The old way of tracking inventory relied on barcodes: When a server chassis was to be moved from one area to another, someone had to manually scan 25 different parts. With RFID tags, which don’t require line-of-sight for scanning, a person can read all 25 parts in one swipe, Sarathy says.

In the past, inventory mistakes led to errors such as test rigs being shipped out or misplaced, Sarathy says. When that happened, it could lead to “line-downs,” or shutting down the production line. Stopping production for two to four hours to debug and reset the system is a costly event, he says.

Sun estimates it could achieve a positive ROI within one year, based on savings in transaction time, more accurate inventory information and fewer line-down events. “The good news is, it’s possible to get ROI even today,” Sarathy says.