Location: Skelmersdale, West Lancashire
Founded in: 1995
Tip: “The key to a strong relationship between companies is openness and flexibility.”
Radio frequency identification (RFID) specialist CoreRFID worked with a leading online retailer for a number of years. Its electromagnetic tagging systems provide useful insight into its delivery drivers’ routes. When the client set up a new automated warehouse for packaging goods, it used similar RFID tags to help bots move around and retrieve groceries.
At first, CoreRFID’s standard tag worked fine. But, as the project expanded and the amount of chilled and frozen products increased, the company needed something more sophisticated.
The level of automation and the complexity of the environment meant there was little room for error.“If the tags were moving or not readable, the robots wouldn’t be able to identify where they were,” Richard Harrison, managing partner and director of sales at CoreRFID, said. “If it was missing or had moved, it would affect where the robot went. This makes them stop and causes errors. A robot that’s stopped can block other robots and lead to knock-on effects.”
After visiting the warehouse, the team started working with an external specialist to come up with a tag just for this purpose. The R&D phase took around nine months, with CoreRFID getting to the root of the problem and the external specialist building and testing the prototype.
The new design changed from an adhesive tag to one with a metal trunking frame.
“With the adhesive tags, activity and temperature were causing it to move. We designed the custom tag to specifically work in that space. There are flexible edges for them to slot in quickly and easily and be fixed in place,” Richard said.
At first, there were concerns that the new technology wouldn’t be scalable, but the partnership has resulted in an off-the-shelf product that can be easily maintained on site. Now they’re supplying tens of thousands of tags.
“We’ve gained even more trust from our client. It’s built confidence and now they will bring more projects and queries to us,” Richard said.