In the process of manufacturing and manufacturing, the use of molds can effectively improve labor productivity, save raw materials, and reduce manufacturing costs. In addition, products produced by molds have good consistency and interchangeability, making them suitable for mass manufacturing. Therefore, molds have a wide range of applications, involving various industries such as machinery, automotive, light industry, electronics, chemical, metallurgy, and building materials.
However, the traditional manual paper-based recording method is no longer able to meet the timely understanding of the entire lifecycle of molds, including their usage, storage, maintenance, and disposal. With the rapid development of RFID technology, the introduction of RFID technology can easily achieve quick storage and inventory of molds, as well as fast registration, record keeping, and searching functions.
Advantages of using RFID technology for mold management:
Achieve refined management of molds:
- Automatically record the entry and exit time of molds, facilitating the tracking of their usage.
- Accurately record the location of molds in the warehouse, facilitating quick search and management.
- Automatically record the manufacturing product model corresponding to the mold model, helping to ensure manufacturing accuracy.
- Accurately understand the number of times the mold has been used, enabling timely maintenance and replacement.
Achieve lean management of products:
- Automatically record key information about the manufacturing process, improving manufacturing efficiency.
- Automatically batch record the entry and exit product information, enhancing product traceability capability.
- Achieve traceability of product quality, helping to improve product quality.
Process of mold management using RFID technology:
- Writing information to mold tags and installation:
To adapt to the harsh environment of mold use, anti-metal tags and high-temperature-resistant tags are generally selected as mold tags. Each tag is assigned a unique ID code, corresponding to each mold.
Use an RFID card issuing device to write mold information into the chip, including mold number, manufacturing date, location, type, processing material, and maintenance content. Bind the electronic tag to the mold and upload the mold tags with the written data to the database. Finally, install the mold tags on the mold using embedding, magnetic suction, or rivets/screws.
- Inventory of mold entry and exit:
Set up RFID readers and antennas at the entrance of the warehouse. When molds with RFID tags enter or exit the warehouse, the reader automatically reads the tag data on the molds and uploads the data to the database, realizing automatic inventory management. During inventory, personnel only need to use RFID handheld readers for batch inventory and synchronize the data to the management backend. By cross-checking with on-site data, abnormal situations can be promptly identified and investigated.
- Tracking the usage status of molds:
Install RFID readers at appropriate positions in the stamping station. The reader is in a non-working state by default. When the stamping machine punches the mold, it triggers the reader to read the tag on the mold. The reader sends the read tag ID to the backend database to record the usage count and status of the mold.
- Mold maintenance and upkeep:
Set up RFID readers and antennas at the entrance and exit of the maintenance workshop. When damaged molds enter the maintenance workshop, the reader automatically reads the mold and transmits the maintenance data to the backend database. This allows timely understanding of the maintenance records and monitoring the status of the mold.
Addressing Customer Needs:
- Mold usage count:
During the stamping process of the mold, from the upper punch press to the mold’s damage and need for repair, the user cannot know the number of times the mold has been used.
- Mold storage management:
Currently, when the mold is stored, the on-site operator uses a forklift to transport the mold to the warehouse, put it on the shelf, and then the warehouse manager uses a paper recording method for the mold’s in and out and inventory management.
- Real-time mold status management:
When the mold is put on the warehouse shelf, the manager manually counts, uses the paper report statistics, and periodically reports according to internal regulations. This manual management method affects the efficiency of the mold inventory work and also affects the timeliness of inventory data. Management personnel cannot immediately know the status of the mold in the warehouse.
- Monitoring of the status of molds and other related assets piled on site:
In addition to the molds managed on the shelves in the warehouse, some molds and related fixtures and other assets are randomly stacked in the stamping workshop, and the status of these mold assets cannot be monitored at present.
- Mold maintenance and repair data records:
The entire process of the mold entering the repair workshop to the completion of the repair has not been data recorded. Therefore, when the mold needs to be scrapped and the repair records need to be checked later, the corresponding data cannot be provided, and the management personnel cannot understand the information of the mold repair process and technology.
Through RFID Internet of Things application technology, fast in and out warehouse and inventory management is realized; through the back-end database, molds can be quickly found; scientifically systematize mold management.
- Attach the RFID electronic label to the mold, which is stable, safe, and reliable;
- System coding and identification through the RFID electronic label, realizing fast warehouse in/out and inventory management of the mold;
- Quickly find the specified mold;
- Record the usage and maintenance status of the mold to the database system in real time.
RFID Tag Information Writing and Installation:
Information Writing: Use ultra-high frequency anti-metal tags, each tag is assigned a unique ID number, corresponding one-to-one with the mold. Write the mold information into the chip, including: mold number, manufacturing date, mold location, mold type, processing material, maintenance, maintenance, etc., and upload to the database.
Installation: The tag surface is high-strength engineering plastic, compression and impact resistant. Install an anti-metal tag on each of the four sides of the mold.
Mold Warehouse In/Out Management:
Warehouse In: Read the mold’s anti-metal tag through the ultra-high frequency antenna, the active RFID reader automatically reads the hangtag of the mold rack, the system automatically binds the mold position, and uploads the data to the back-end database through the industrial computer, realizing fast warehouse-in.
Warehouse Out: Read the mold’s anti-metal tag through the ultra-high frequency antenna, the active RFID reader automatically reads the hangtag of the mold rack, the system automatically releases the mold position, and uploads the data to the back-end database through the industrial computer, realizing fast warehouse-out.
Inventory: Check the inventory of molds through the database system in time to understand the mold inventory.
Mold Query Management:
Query: Enter the mold number to be searched in the system, the system queries the hangtag, and the corresponding identification position, thereby realizing the quick search of the mold.
Mold Maintenance and Management:
Maintenance and management: During daily maintenance, timely input maintenance records through handheld readers, and timely upload to the database system through wireless modules. Record the usage and maintenance status of the mold to the database system in real time through each use of the mold, helping management to analyze the cause of mold wear and evaluate mold life.
Nissan Automobiles Adopts RFID Tag Management for Forging Molds
Nissan Automobiles has introduced the world’s first mold management system, using stackable RFID tags, in its Yokohama engine factory. The new system can improve the management efficiency of Nissan’s transmission parts forging molds, reducing the labor intensity of workers. The new system can also reduce the number of mold inventories for Nissan, estimated to be halved to 3,500 sets in 2007.
In the new mold management system, each transmission part mold has an electronic tag, which stores information about the mold, such as: manufacturing status, storage location, maintenance records, usage history, etc. When the tag is placed on a dedicated reading tray, workers can immediately see the mold information from the nearby computer screen without any operation on the computer. Previously, workers had to search for paper files to get mold information. Thanks to the readability of the stackable tags, they can be read smoothly even when stacked together.
This system was jointly developed by Nissan Automobiles and NTT, using NTT’s system, which comes from a large number of tracking records of supply chain management solutions.
Nissan and NTT will confirm the effectiveness of the system on site in the next 6 months. The two companies plan to expand the system’s functions, such as the management of the engine parts manufacturing process, automatic ordering of molds, etc. Nissan Automobiles also hopes to promote the system in other factories in Japan.
Nissan’s Yokohama factory has already adopted the Nissan Manufacturing Way (NPW) manufacturing management software, which is a global manufacturing process management software, characterized by the synchronization of engine parts and vehicle manufacturing. After using the mold management system and NPW, Nissan will continue to strive to improve the quality, cost, delivery time, etc. of the vehicles produced.
The Yokohama factory is located 25 kilometers southwest of Tokyo and started manufacturing in 1935. It is the first large-scale automobile factory in Japan. The factory now mainly produces various engines such as: MR series engines, which are equipped with Serena and Lafesta vans; QR series engines, which are equipped with Murano SUVs, X-TRAIL, small SUVs. The factory’s engine output for the 2004 fiscal year was about 380,000 in total design philosophy.
The mold management system adopts advanced RFID technology, aiming to manage the entire process from the birth and circulation of the mold. Specifically shaped RFID tags are fixedly installed on each set of molds owned by the enterprise company to identify the lifelong identity of the mold.
Application of RFID Technology in Automated Manufacturing
The management process of the RFID manufacturing automation system includes:
- Real-time dynamic tracking of the entire work process, accurately identifying the ongoing work position and status.
- Seamless integration of information when switching products at each manufacturing interval.
- Providing 3D operation guidance and data support for the logistics of the manufacturing line.
- Real-time tracking and monitoring of the manufacturing process through RFID readers installed on the manufacturing line.
Application Background: Traditional mold management and station piecework methods cannot meet the needs of discrete manufacturing. The management and maintenance of molds require a lot of manpower and time, and recording and statistics of station piecework are difficult. To solve these problems, discrete manufacturing companies have begun to explore the use of RFID technology for automated information management of mold manufacturing lines and station piecework.
Mold manufacturing line management:
- RFID tag application: Install RFID tags on the molds to achieve full lifecycle management of the molds. Through RFID technology, real-time access to the use count, location, maintenance records, etc., of the mold can be achieved, improving the efficiency and accuracy of mold management.
- Manufacturing line visualization: Through the combination of the RFID data collection system and the assembly line, the visualization management of the manufacturing line is realized. By reading the information on the RFID tag, the operating status of the product and the working condition of the station are monitored in real-time, helping managers to identify problems in a timely manner and make corresponding adjustments and decisions.
Station Piecework Automation Management:
- Station overtime detection: Monitor the dwell time of the product at the station in real-time through the RFID tag reader. If the product stays at a certain station for longer than the set maximum time, it is judged as a station anomaly and a corresponding alarm prompt is made, helping managers to identify and handle abnormalities in a timely manner.
- Station pressure goods monitoring: Monitor the quantity of products in manufacturing at the station in real-time through the RFID tag reader. If the accumulation of products in manufacturing exceeds the set maximum quantity, it is judged as station pressure goods, and a corresponding alarm prompt is made, helping managers to schedule and handle it in a timely manner.
Monitoring of products in manufacturing:
- Status monitoring of products in manufacturing: Install RFID tags on products in manufacturing to monitor their status in real-time. The RFID tag stores information related to the product, such as the product model, manufacturing date, quality inspection certificate, etc. By reading the information on the RFID tag, the status of the product in manufacturing, including manufacturing progress, quality status, etc., can be understood in real-time, helping managers to grasp the situation of the product in manufacturing in a timely manner and make corresponding scheduling and decisions.
- Traceability of products in manufacturing: By using the unique identification code of the RFID tag, the traceability of the product in manufacturing is achieved. In the manufacturing process, each product in manufacturing is assigned a unique RFID tag, which records key information in the manufacturing process. By reading the information on the RFID tag, the manufacturing process, raw material source, processing procedure, etc., of the product in manufacturing can be traced, which is very important for quality tracing and product source tracing, helping companies to identify and solve quality problems in a timely manner and improve the traceability of the product.
- Inventory management of products in manufacturing: Install RFID tags on each product in manufacturing to achieve real-time monitoring and management of the product in manufacturing. By reading the information on the RFID tag on the product in manufacturing through the RFID reader, the quantity, location, and status of the product in manufacturing are understood in real-time. When the quantity of products in manufacturing exceeds the set maximum quantity, the system will automatically send an alarm prompt, helping managers to schedule and handle it in a timely manner, avoiding problems of manufacturing delay and low efficiency caused by excessive accumulation of products in manufacturing.
Composition of the plan:
- RFID tags: Used for identification and information recording on the mold.
- RFID readers and writers: Used to read the information on the RFID tags and upload the data to the system host machine.
- Data collection system: Used to collect and process the data of RFID tags and make corresponding monitoring and judgment.
- Visualization management system: Through the analysis and display of RFID data, the visualization management of the manufacturing line is realized.
- Alarm system: Used to give alarm prompts when abnormalities occur, helping managers to identify and handle problems in a timely manner.
Benefits of the plan application:
- Improve management efficiency: Through automated information management, the workload of manual operation and recording is reduced, and management efficiency is improved.
- Enhance the visualization management level of the manufacturing line: Through real-time monitoring and display of the operating status of the manufacturing line and the working condition of the station, managers are helped to identify problems in a timely manner and make corresponding adjustments and decisions.
- Reduce human errors: Through automated data collection and processing, human recording and statistical errors are reduced, and data accuracy and reliability are improved.
- Improve the stability and reliability of the manufacturing line: Through station overtime and station pressure goods monitoring, abnormalities are detected and handled in a timely manner, ensuring the stable operation of the manufacturing line.