RFID Case Study: Tracking and Tracing at BMW

RFID project automotive: Implementation of a control system for controlling and monitoring the production of motor vehicles

At a glance...

  • Coordination of the individual steps on the assembly line
  • Coordination of multiple production lines
  • Coordination and monitoring of the entire transport system
  • Information on vehicle-specific features for quality control

RFID Products used

  • RFID Reader LF70 LongRange (Profibus)
  • RFID Transponder Cylinder

RFID Frequency 134.2 kHz (LF)

Your car - your way!

Today, fulfilling each customer’s individual requirements in terms of color and features of their car is standard practice. The automotive industry is geared towards manufacturing vehicles on a customer-specific and just-in-time basis. The color, bodywork, number of doors, internal accessories – each vehicle on the conveyor belt has its own specific features. This level of specificity places very high demands on logistics, coordination, and monitoring. BMW’s Regensburg factory relies on our RFID control and monitoring system for this process.

The challenge

The production of customer-specific vehicles on the assembly line presents a technical assembly challenge. Starting from the provision of the individual vehicle components for the right vehicle at the right time, through the coordination of individual assembly steps – there is no margin for error if each vehicle is to fulfil exact requirements when it arrives at the end of the conveyor belt. The individual vehicles are transported through the production line on rail systems or using lifts. These rail systems may consist of several parallel strands which, according to demand, come together into one line or allow entire sections of the assembly to run simultaneously. A sophisticated system is used to control and monitor the transport of the individual vehicles. Which track point is switched or which lift is set in motion? These correct actions can only be achieved if the vehicles being transported can be uniquely identified.

The implementation

Assembly line
The car bodies are lifted onto standardized transport frames that enable the transport of many different types of bodywork. TIRIS® transponders in specific locations on the transport frame are used to uniquely identify each car body. The system reads the transponders at defined positions, for example before a track point or a lift. The system uses this data to decide whether the next point is switched, a lift is used, or a work station is started. It is not possible to mistake one car body for another. This ensures that the vehicle follows the prescibed production steps and the correct work stations in exactly the right order.

Quality assurance
The transponder also contains additional information on the current order – such as the body number, type, no. of doors, customer order number, or vehicle key. This data is used at each work station to control the features of the vehicles, thus guaranteeing high quality and preventing vehicles from being produced that do not meet customer specifications.

The implementation of a fascinating innovation in automotive production does not end until the perfect vehicle is produced. At Brooks, we accompany BMW Regensburg along their path to success.