Asco deploys RFID to manage its assets within a complex industrial environment

•       Fast tracking of the Asco machining supports at all times in the company’s different buildings
•       Reduction in the number of assets lost
•       Real-time updating of the tool databases, making it possible to respond to audit requests in under 24 
Zetes (Euronext Brussels: ZTS) has rolled out an RFID solution on behalf of Asco within a complex production environment, allowing it to significantly improve the management of its machining supports. The solution was developed and installed by RFIDea, today Zetes-RFIDea, a company specialising in RFID and acquired by the Zetes Group in May 2011.

Asco is a leading company in the development, production and processing of high-precision steel and titanium components for the aircraft industry. Faced with the loss of several machining supports and anxious to quickly respond to audit requests, Asco decided to implement an RFID solution. However, the metal used for the parts to be identified and their permanent exposure to cutting oil and the spattering of glowing metal filings were major obstacles that had to be overcome as part of this project. That is why Asco called in Zetes-RFIDea.

Zetes-RFIDea undertook a detailed analysis of the environment and processes in order to make sure that RFID was indeed the most appropriate technology. It also performed tests on different tags to determine which was the most resistant.
Hervé Le Grand, Fixture shop support at Asco: “Zetes-RFIDea had a number of important assets. First of all, it offered the potential to integrate several types of hardware, which didn’t tie us to one particular supplier. Secondly, their offer included analysis as well as project implementation, support and maintenance services. Finally, after comparing proposals from several providers, it was apparent that its analysis was also the most relevant.”

In terms of software, Zetes RFIDea developed 3 modules: one for creating objects, one for maintenance and one for audits, all three accessible via portable RFID terminals.

Fixed RFID readers fitted with proximity sensors were also positioned at the entrances and exits of buildings in order to be able to easily locate the supports at all times.

Audits: lists available in less than 24 hours

Asco now has real time updates of the machining support database. This means that it has to contend with fewer losses. Furthermore, the identity card of each tool is located in a single database, accessible to everyone. When it comes to audits, it is possible to easily extract lists in no time at all. These are available in less than 24 hours, which has a major impact on Asco’s relationships with its customers.
Alain Wirtz, the Zetes CEO, comments: “This project illustrates how organisations stand to gain from the deployment of RFID. This technology has real potential, but it is important to have advanced knowledge in this field for a correct implementation. As such, the acquisition of RIFDea is a real advantage for Zetes. This additional know-how today mainly benefits the Belgian and French markets. However, our 3iRFID competence centre is working to share the knowledge within the Group so that each entity can benefit from this kind of experience.”

Zetes (formerly ProScan) represents the Zetes group in South Africa. The ProScan Group was acquired recently by Zetes Industries in July 2011.

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Asco deploys RFID to manage its assets within a complex industrial environment