At Kumho Tire Factory, RFID Drives First-In, First-Out Process
Mojix STAR RFID solutions in use at Korean tire manufacturer
Korean tire manufacturer Kumho Tire is employing passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to track its consumption of the rubber materials that it uses to assemble tires at two of its factories. The company uses Qbit-supplied Mojix STAR RFID solutions at its two Korean assembly plants enabling it to boost its efficiency, better manage its rubber material and ensure that the rubber is used on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis, thereby allowing it to consume the material before it stiffens with age or reaches its expiration date.
The company reports that it has already gained a return on its investment by increasing efficiency and eliminating the need to discard unused rubber due to it having expired before the material could be incorporated into a tire.
Kumho Tire, owned by conglomerate Kumho Group, manufactures a wide range of tires under the Kumho and Marshal brands at its facilities in South Korea, as well as in China and Vietnam. The company claims that it is the ninth largest tire manufacturer in the world, and one of the largest in Korea.
In 2013, Kumho Tire’s factories in Gwangju and Gokseung began applying passive UHF RFID tags to bus and truck tires (see Tire Manufacturers Roll Forward With RFID). The tags were designed for use in inventory management and logistics at distribution centers.
At that time, the company also wanted to track those factories’ rubber material inventory levels and work-in-progress. To do so, it required a real-time location system (RTLS) that could cover each plant’s approximately 200,000-square-meter assembly floor. The company wanted to use the low-cost passive UHF tags, however, rather than battery-powered RFID tags that can be more expensive but provide RTLS data.
According to a Kumho Tire spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous, the company went about seeking a passive system that would still provide some level of real-time location of tagged items. “There is no other choice for RTLS [involving] RFID,” he says, referring to Mojix‘s STAR RFID technology provided by Qbit.