For a global company like SIDOR, automatic identification, labelling, and tracking could greatly improve quality control processes, customer service, inventory management, and accurate and on-schedule shipments. bar code technology, together with a suitable data collection technology, would allow for such automatic identification of steel products.
To help find and implement the right solution, SIDOR management brought in Corporacion Triadmor (www.triadmor.com), a leading Andean region information technology and communication systems integrator located in Caracas, Venezuela, and Bogotá, Colombia, and with expertise in the metal processing industry.
From the start, Traidmor understood the new system for SIDOR had to include a radio frequency (RF) wireless network and barcode data capture and product identification technology.
As a large and sprawling steel mill complex extending over 5,430 acres (2,200 hectares), SIDOR's heavy-industrial environment, along with the presence of massive metal objects that interfere with radio frequency electromagnetic waves, required a reliable and stable RF network that could avoid interference.
After evaluating several solutions for the RF wireless network by performing several site surveys, the team selected Zebra Technologies' Spectrum24 because of its frequency hopping spread spectrum technology, which enhances data reception and is resistant to interference in the industrial sections of the plant. Zebra Technologies' solutions for data capture were adopted as well.
In addition, the SIDOR/Traidmor team also evaluated product identification technology. Bar coded labels from various providers were affixed to steel products and shipped around the world and then inspected at their point of destination for legibility, adherence, and weather resistance.
In the end, Zebra Technologies' rugged tabletop and mobile thermal transfer bar code labelling solutions showed superior performance within the steel industry's harsh manufacturing conditions and were compatible with the adopted wireless network infrastructure.
Zebra products would be used for printing product identification bar code labels for all the finished steel products being shipped to clients, and for automatically capturing product weight data and printing this information on the labels.