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Omni-ID unveils visual RFID tagging system

Omni-ID used the 3rd Annual Auto-ID & Sensing Solution Expo held at MIT on Wednesday to unveil its new visual RFID tagging system, which is targeted to manufacturers who utilize Kanban or just-in-time production systems.

The Omni-ID ProVIEW visual tagging system, which features active tags that start at about $20 apiece for high volumes, eliminates by the costly and laborious paper cards that are affixed to returnable totes during the Kanban process.

Some of the tags from its visual tagging line that Omni-ID displayed at the MIT conference on Wednesday.

“The notion of a visual tag is very exciting,” says George Daddis, CEO of Omni-ID. “This technology can be put to work in applications that we haven’t even thought of yet.”

Omni-ID conducted a pilot project at an automotive assembly plant that handles almost one million totes a day that cycle between 300 tier one parts suppliers. About 120,000 labels are printed each day and placed on the totes, resulting in huge paper and ink costs, as well as costs for printer maintenance and labor costs for tags placement, scanning and removal.

The automotive plant estimates those costs at $9.2 million per year. The company, which operates 45 facilities around the globe, could conceivably save over $400 million by deploying the system company-wide.

By utilizing the ProVIEW visual tag system, the plant eliminated all paper card activity and received as direct return-on-investment in 16 months. In addition, the plant eliminated the environmental impact of printing 36 million cards and labels each year.

“The green message is very important,” says Daddis. “Printing 36 million cards every year is a significant environmental impact. Several of our pilot customers have sustainability programs in place and received environmental subsidies from corporate to help fund this. Others received government grant money to help fund the trial because of the green initiative involved.”

Other system benefits include reducing RTI shrinkage by as much as 20 percent, process quality improvements, increased process speed, and integration of internal work-in-process. The system also helps with regulatory and compliance requirements by providing a full asset history, reducing live freight, and by deploying quality flags and signatures.

Omni-ID went to its venture partner, Coller Capital, to request financial backing for the product launch last summer. Omni-ID’s investors are very excited about a leasing price structure for those that want to avoid the up front capital costs to install the system. The auto plant pilot, for example, required an investment of $12.5 million.

By offering a pay-as-you-print leasing format, users could still gain the environmental benefits with no significant up-front cost. In this scenario, Omni-ID would earn its money over a longer time frame. Omni-ID is also looking at potential partnership to roll the system out into verticals like healthcare.

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