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BMW Mini Utilising RFID Tracking

Mini Logo

Motor manufacturing depends on having the right parts in the right place, just in time (JIT). CoreRFID specialises in technologies that make this possible.

For one link in the Mini manufacturing chain, BMW uses 22,000 specialised pallets, known as stillages, to transport parts from their Swindon plant to Oxford. With an asset value of over £100m for the stillages alone, plus the costs of them being mislaid or parts arriving late, BMW needs to keep track of stillages.

CoreRFID has implemented a stillage RFID Tracking solution for BMW Mini. The system is based on UHF electronic tags on the stillages. The tags can be detected by reader gateways as stillages enter or leave the factory or as they are moved around the plant by forklift truck. There are also tag readers at the robotised manufacturing stations where parts are taken from the stillages for use in assembly operations.

Benefits In The Manufacturing Cycle

RFID Tracking pallets
Fork lift handling of stillages at BMW Mini, Oxford.

As a result, BMW has an instant picture of where stillages are. This saves the costs of manual checks on stillages. More important, it reduces the risks of production losses from parts being in the wrong place.

RFID Tracking also helps to link individual stillages to manufacturing incidents. A damaged stillage may cause robots to fail in their operations or vice versa. Because the system knows which stillage was involved, BMW can take the faulty stillage out of service and repair it before it repeats the problem elsewhere.

Could This Help You?

RFID Tracking is an invaluable tool for keeping track of reusable assets in any logistics chain. You can read about our portal gateway systems here and how we implemented a similar system for keeping track of industrial bulk containers for chemicals. If you’re thinking of implementing RFID to keep track of your manufacturing and distribution chain you can find out about some of the questions we can help you with here.