Syngenta – one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural chemicals – has ordered 10,000 new tags from Skelmersdale-based supplier CoreRFID to replace the originals, which have been in regular use since the RFID tracking system was introduced in 2014.
Syngenta’s Grangemouth site employs over 350 staff and produces the ‘active ingredients’ used in its fertilisers and crop protection products. The ingredients are then put into bulk containers or ‘bags’ and either shipped to production plants overseas or moved to another plant on site and used to make the finished products.
The use of RFID has allowed Syngenta to track the bags as they are moved around the site, and to gain better control over the entire production process. Every bag is fitted with a tag which can be scanned by fixed readers or by staff with hand-held scanners at critical points along the way.
The system – which replaced manual spreadsheets – allows Syngenta to see the whereabouts of ingredients in real time and ensure that the ‘right product is in the right place at the right time’. It has also enabled the company to step up production and reduced the risk of error.
Paul Johnston, automation and information systems manager at Grangemouth, says the system worked well from the start and the tags were being replaced due to wear and tear. “We are simply changing the tags for new ones. RFID is super reliable and doesn’t really break down – either it works or it doesn’t.”
He added: “Replacing spreadsheets and manual data entry has minimised mistakes and provided greater visibility – we can see where everything is and how much of it there is. A paper system is just not manageable on the scale that we manufacture and doesn’t have benefit of ensuring ‘right product, right place, right time’.”
Richard Harrison, who is technical sales director at CoreRFID, worked on the project from the start, says: ‘RFID is a simple and very cost-effective way for manufacturers to keep track of materials or components and achieve better control of production.
It has certainly proved very effective for Syngenta. Six years on, no major changes have been required and, aside from replacing the original tags, the company remains happy with the system.”