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Returnable Container Tracking For MOBIS

Company Profile

Mobis North America, LLC
Detroit, Michigan
Industry: Automotive
Solution: Software from 7iD Technologies UHF RFID tags and reader portals
Benefits: Real-time visibility


Mobis had previously evaluated RFID technology for tracking metal containers, but tag prices at the time were high and the performance of lower-cost RFID tags on metal was unreliable. Since then, tag prices have dropped significantly and a number of UHF RFID tags have been developed that can perform well on metal. Mobis decided to give the technology another look.


The company approached Brighton, Michigan- based system integrator Lowry Solutions about using RFID to track the containers. Lowry provides container management systems that enable the efficient tracking and control of reusable containers by associating a unique RFID tag with each asset. The solution maintains an accurate inventory status for every container and allows companies to see which assets are available for use, which are at partner facilities, and which are in transit. With this type of visibility, Mobis would be able to better optimize the use of its container fleet.

Lowry conducted a system requirements review with Mobis in order to better understand the scope of their tracking solution. Lowry identified Mobis’ business requirements as well as data requirements for the solution to work with SAP. The integrator also identified the need for a feedback system for fork truck drivers in the Mobis facility. Drivers would need a way to display the number of containers on the fork lift and keep a cumulative total. The system would also need to be able to detect whether the containers were being received or shipped.

Once the business requirements had been mapped out, Lowry performed a full site survey in order to ensure that the tags were properly mounted on the containers and that the RFID portals were correctly designed and installed. For the software, Lowry deployed a solution from Austrian firm 7iD Technologies. 7iD specializes in RFID infrastructure management and control and provides specific applications for automotive and container management solutions. The 7iD software provided the necessary interface to integrate the container management system with Mobis ‘ SAP Container Management Module. In addition, Lowry developed custom software for the container management application that integrated with the feedback system used by the forklift drivers.

Lowry tagged the metal containers with pre-encoded UHF RFID tags and installed RFID reader portals on six dock doors at the Mobis facility.


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