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Spain: Plastics

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Construction of an interpreter of RFID pulses Pilot in the plastic film industry for PICDA by ALU



PICDA, S.L. is a company whose principal activity is manufacturing plastic bags of polyethylene of high, medium and low density. PICDA is currently working with innovative technologies to improve the degradation of plastic material.



Alu Group S.L. is a company dedicated to software consulting with strong interest in highly innovative issues, especially new technologies to be applied to industrial manufacturing process and production phases.



The goal of this pilot is to build an interpreter of RFID pulses capable of extracting meaning of the signals received in the context of a warehouse of the plastic film industry. The interpreter must be integrated into the corporation ERP in order to maintain the warehouse organized.

The plastic film industry (plastic bags) needs to integrate last Information Technology into their processes in order to be more competitive, more sustainable and gently with the environment and with the use of resources. RFID is a key tool for adapting the processes of this industry to this new era. Getting more control of the plastic coils and other materials in the warehouse has a deep impact on the efficiency of the organization, which can be achieved using RFID technology. Generating less waste products is another main goal of this project and getting the most of the plastic coils and reducing the number of errors implies better use of raw materials and less use of energy.

As expected benefits, the company will be able to:

  • Improve productivity and performance of the organization as a whole;
  • Improve and standardize the quality of plastic bags for each purchase order;
  • Improve and accomplish service deadlines;
  • Reduce production costs in general and manipulation costs in particular; and
  • Improve the energetic efficiency in the plastic bag production process.



The solution is being deployed in a factory of plastic bags (plastic film industry).  More precisely, it is being used in the warehouse and along the whole fabrication process, which consists of the following main steps:

  1. Extrusion;
  2. Printing;
  3. Tailoring.



In our project, the interpreter receives the RFID pulses and converts them into intelligible information that could be used to locate all the materials in the warehouse and even drive to take better decisions.

The solution we are going to implement means that:

  1. Every hand pallet truck is equipped with an RFID receiver (a reader and an antenna) and an industrial computer with an application connected with the ERP database via Wifi.
  2. Every location in the pallet racking system has an RFID position tag.
  3. As not all the movements are made between locations in the racking system, there are some RFID detection arcs disseminated along the warehouse in order to capture the hand pallet truck passing by with or without a plastic coil.

Taking into account two or more RFID signals, the interpreter can detect (among others) the following situations:

  1. Hand pallet truck transiting empty;
  2. Taken from a location of the rack;
  3. Taken from location on the floor;
  4. Material unloaded in location;
  5. Material unloaded on the floor;
  6. Changing the material location.

For example, these two RFID lectures mean that the situation 4 (material unloaded in location) is happening:

Last to second signal: Submitted from: ; Location: ; Charge:

Last signal: Submitted from: ; Location: ; Charge: Null.

Even though the interpreter is “connected” to the Picda-ERP, it can be connected to every ERP using some interfaces defined in it. It’s very important that the interpreter keeps a strong link with the ERP, which implies that the connection binding between them must be synchronous in order to have the information on time (we have decided to implement it as web services in order to support different situations and connectivity through different networks).

The current and the new system can be illustrated as following:


The current system





The future system



Technical specifications:

RFID Passive tags

NPR EasyTag Lite 120 Reader with integrated antenna

  • UHF RFID reader, RS485, Bluetooth Class 1 interface, Up to 1,5 meters distance for reading, EPC Class1 Gen 2 (ISO 18000-06C) standards, 865-868 Mhz

RFID printer Zebra RZ400

  • RS232, IEEE 1284, USB 2.0, EPC Gen 2 (ISO 18000-06C), 16 MB DRAM, 8 MB Flash

Handheld RFID reader

  • NPH Pocket BT-UHF, Bluetooth handheld RFID reader

Industrial computer

  • CMC-3000 Mobile Computer, IP54 dust and water resistance, 2 wireless communication options:802.11b/g, Bluetooth Class II, Intel XScale (PXA255 400MHz), Memory: ROM 64MB Flash, RAM 128 MB,8.4” TFT LCD 800x600 touch-sensitive panel; 64k colours.