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RFID empowers BMW smart factory

2024-07-10

For the parts of BMW cars are of high value, if they are misplaced during assembly, their costs will increase infinitely. Therefore BMW chose to use RFID technology. High temperature RFID tag pallets are used to transport individual components from the production plant to the assembly workshop. These high temp RFID tags are detected by reader gateways as the stills enter and leave the factory, as they are moved around the factory by forklifts, and by PDAs at mechanized manufacturing stations.

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Enter the automotive welding process. When a station such as a crane rail car carries equipment to the next station, the vehicle model at the previous station transfers the vehicle model data to the next station through the PLC. Or the vehicle model can be detected directly through the detection equipment at the next station. After the crane is in place, the vehicle model data recorded in the high temp RFID tags of the crane is read through RFID, and compared with the vehicle model data transmitted by the PLC at the previous station or the data detected by the vehicle model sensor. Compare and confirm to ensure the correct model and prevent tooling fixture switching errors or robot program number call errors, which may lead to serious equipment collision accidents. The same situation can be applied to engine assembly lines, final assembly chain conveyor lines, and other workstations that require continuous confirmation of vehicle models.

In the automotive painting process. The conveying equipment is a skid conveyor, with an high temperature uhf RFID tag installed on each skid carrying a car body. During the entire production process, this tag runs with the workpiece, forming a piece of data that moves with the body, becoming a portable A “smart car body” that carries data. According to the different needs of production technology and management, RFID readers can be installed at the entrance and exit of the coating workshop, the bifurcation of workpiece logistics, and the entrance of important processes (such as spray paint rooms, drying rooms, storage areas, etc.). Each on-site RFID reader can complete the collection of skid, body information, spray color and number of times, and send the information to the control center at the same time.

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In the automobile assembly process. An high temperature uhf RFID tag is installed on the hanger of the assembled vehicle (input vehicle, location, serial number and other information), and then a corresponding serial number is compiled for each assembled vehicle. The RFID high temperature metal tag with the detailed requirements required by the car runs along the assembly conveyor belt, and at each RFID readers are installed at each work station to ensure that the car completes the assembly task without errors at each assembly line position. When the rack carrying the assembled vehicle passes the RFID reader, the reader automatically obtains the information in the tag and sends it to the central control system. The system collects production data, quality monitoring data and other information on the production line in real time, and then transmits the information to material management, production scheduling, quality assurance and other related departments. In this way, functions such as raw material supply, production scheduling, quality monitoring, and vehicle quality tracking can be realized at the same time, and various disadvantages of manual operations can be effectively avoided.

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RFID enables BMW to easily customize cars. Many customers of BMW choose to order customized cars when purchasing cars. Therefore, each car needs to be reassembled or equipped according to the customer's personal requirements. Therefore, each order needs to be supported by specific auto parts. In reality, however, providing installation instructions to assembly line operators is very challenging. After trying various methods including RFID, infrared and bar codes, BMW chose RFID to help operators quickly determine the type of assembly required when each vehicle arrives at the assembly line. They use an RFID-based real-time positioning system - RTLS. RTLS enables BMW to identify each vehicle as it passes through the assembly line and identify not only its location, but also all the tools used on that vehicle.

The BMW Group uses RFID, a simple automatic identification technology, to achieve accurate and rapid identification of object information, helping production plants make scientific decisions, thereby improving corporate production efficiency. It is reported that BMW will benchmark Tesla and continue to expand the application of RFID technology in vehicles. Perhaps in the near future, BMW will also become an excellent new energy vehicle company.