Plant Nurseries may implement RFID technologies to improve their plant nursery tracking and inventory operation. Which will demonstrate the efficacy of RFID technology in providing enhanced product traceability, inventory, and visibility related to tracking plants on the premises. This data is especially useful in optimizing the supply chain and improving operational metrics.
In all projects, Senitron injects RFID into production environments in a narrowly focused deployment to minimize disturbances to the overall Distribution Center operation.
Most plant nurseries start the plant growth process in smaller pots, and as they grow depending on the plan type, may swap the pots for the plants several times until the plants are ready to be shipped out to clients. Ideally, it is best to employ RFID to track every unit of product being sold as “individual items” or” lots”. Which can be achieved by tagging every plant individually and reading the presence/status of each asset via the RFID system, using autonomous drones and hand-held RFID readers.
The Senitron RFID solution consists of a core software application, autonomous drones with RFID hardware readers and antennas, hand-held RFID readers, positioned at key points in the facility. Additionally, there will be software customizations to adapt the RFID application to organizations specific requirements.
The RFID application will be a cloud-based online hosted model. Which will allow any organization to easily expand the solution to other locations and have everything accessible from the online dashboard.
The solution can work as a stand-alone system, or it can be integrated into Oracle, SAP, or any other system.
The functional capabilities of the RFID system include the following:
- Create and apply tags for various plants in the select outdoor and indoor location.
- Import the data from the existing organization software to pull relevant lot numbers and PO numbers information and associate it with the specific tag.
- Capture and display pertinent data for each tagged item such as item#, lot#, po#, total quantity, and location on a map etc.
The RFID application has many existing capabilities and functionalities including:
- Inventory –See and access your inventory in real-time. Know what you have, the quantity on-hand for a specific asset, and where it is located.
- Visual Search Interface – Personnel can quickly find and locate items in a location by accessing the user-friendly “Digital| Floor Plan” search module. Items are located, and circles are overlaid to reflect the location of the items.
- Visual Display of Misplaced Items – To help personnel locate and return misplaced or separated items from their groups, the system displays the location of the misplaced items within the location floor plan, as well as their group locations.
- Item Movement Tracking – You can see where an item is now, where it has been in the past, as well as when it entered/exited the premises.
- Real-Time Alerts – Received Real-time alerts if unauthorized items leave the premises.
- Reports – A variety of reports are available. Custom reports can be quoted as necessary.
- Multi-User System – Create an unlimited number of users to access the dashboard. Multiple permission levels are available.
- Print / Encode RFID Tags – Print and encode tags from the dashboard. No separate printing software required for simple tag printing
The proposed hardware includes various components included but not limited to:
- RFID equipped autonomous helicopter/quadcopter drones with RFID antennae and readers
- Hand-Held RFID readers
- RFID printers
- Miscellaneous mounting hardware for readers and antennae
- RFID tags
Scope of Work
In most projects Senitron will perform the following tasks:
- Procure the required drones, RFID hardware, coax cabling, mounting hardware, enclosures, printers and software to complete the project
- Configure the RFID software on Monrovia’s cloud Senitron tenant dashboard
- Install the printers in designated locations throughout the Monrovia facility
- Install the drones, RFID readers, and antennae at designated locations throughout the Monrovia facility
- Configure the RFID software to import the existing data from Monrovia’s existing Oracle database software
- Configure the RFID software to encode and print/encode RFID tags with predefined Monrovia asset data
- Perform system testing with the Monrovia technical team
- Provide training/knowledge transfer as necessary
Senitron shall provide access to the latest version of the RFID tracking platform to be used for all projects.
Senitron will provide the Drones, RFID readers, antennas, multiplexers, RFID printers, RFID hand-held reader, and RFID tags required to support the tracking, mapping, and inventory counting plants in select areas of the facility.
Customization and configuration of the RFID system will be tailored to the specific locations within the organization facility and their associated workflows. They are as follows:
Workﬂow Stage 1 -Inventory Tagging
Senitron will deploy the RFID Printers in the Receiving Area or in the organizations preferred location. These devices will be connected to the existing Monrovia IP/Ethernet network with Cat5/6 cabling. Senitron will install custom software on existing printing workstations to print RFID tags, capture, and transmit the captured data to the RFID tracking platform.
Most plant nurseries print lot tags/labels for a group of plants, which maintains the number of plants linked to that lot. Additionally, a label is printed and affixed to each individual plant. The labels contain the plant item#, name, PO#, lot# etc.
The RFID Printing software component will be configured to re-route the current label printing jobs to both an existing label printer for legacy label printing and an RFID printer. The re-routed print job will go through an OCR process where the extracted text fields (lot#, Item#…) will be recorded and transmitted via API to the RFID Platform. The recorded data shall be added to a dedicated database table and held for future use. Once the OCR is completed, the label will be sent to the Zebra RFID printer to be printed, where the HU#, Item#, etc. will be encoded into the RFID tag.
Workflow Stage 2 – Outdoors – Tagged Inventory Read by RFID System
One dedicated drone equipped with an RFID reader and antenna will be deployed to an approved designated area to capture tagged RFID inventory. The drone will take off autonomously, scan the selected predefined area for the pilot, and return back the designated Pilot project landing area. The drone will be connected to the existing Monrovia IP/Ethernet network using wireless, wife technology and/or cellular and/or data link technology.
The following processes occur at this point:
1) The drone & RFID reader will record and enter the assets into the RFID system, as well as the GPS coordinated for each asset.
2) The assets will then be added into the inventory along with their locations
3) Read the Monrovia lot#, item#, PO#, query imported data from the existing Oracle software to find additional metadata information.
The drone will be controlled and monitored by the drone mission software, and by a trained Senitron personnel whom will be overseeing the pilot project.
Upon successful acceptance and adaptation, the of the pilot program, Monrovia will be required to assign one person to oversee the drone operations in accordance with the FAA guidance rules for flying drones.
Outdoors – Tagged Inventory Read by Drone RFID System
An example will be a 650-acre plant nursery with 70% of the inventory outdoors, which will be a candidate for drone RFID scanning. Most Plan Nurseries locations are divided into many rectangular lots(example 700×100 feet) Senitron will configure the drone(s) to inventory all the lots. In general, the drone(s) will be flying at altitudes of 10-15 feet from the ground. Moving at speeds of 3-6 feet per second. In which case inventorying each lot will take approximately 20-30 minutes.