Thermo King Improves Manufacturing Operations

Feb. 17, 2009
AeroScout, Inc. today announced that it has deployed a wireless parts replenishment solution for Thermo King Corporation

AeroScout, Inc., the leading provider of Unified Asset Visibility for improving operational efficiency, today announced that, together with IMEC Technologies, it has deployed a wireless parts replenishment solution for Thermo King Corporation.

Using the Wi-Fi Active RFID solution, Thermo King is driving lean manufacturing and operational improvements in its major manufacturing facility in Galway, Ireland.

Thermo King manufactures transport temperature control systems for trailers, truck bodies, shipboard and airborne containers, and buses and railway cars. The company has implemented a Wi-Fi parts replenishment solution – also known as an e-Kanban system – and integrated it into its internal manufacturing applications. The AeroScout solution uses standard Wi-Fi and leverages Thermo King’s existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network, which the staff also uses for data communications with laptops and handheld mobile computers.

When additional parts are needed on the production line, workers at the facility use call buttons located on AeroScout’s Wi-Fi tags mounted next to parts containers throughout the facility. When the quantity in a container reaches a pre-determined level, workers simply press the corresponding call button to request more parts.

The battery-powered tags transmit the request over the facility’s standard Wi-Fi network to AeroScout’s MobileView software. These requests are then processed by IMEC’s parts replenishment application, which initiates the appropriate materials replenishment steps. The solution requires no hard wires, is easy to deploy and enables flexible support of production line layout changes.

“We needed a scalable solution to reduce the time for parts replenishment and increase throughput and productivity,” said Padraig Campbell, Supply Chain Manager at Thermo King. “AeroScout and IMEC have helped us improve our operations while leveraging our existing wireless infrastructure. In the future, we are looking at AeroScout solutions for additional asset visibility applications, such as asset tracking and management for the dollies that move between our facilities.”