Radio Frequency Identification device (RFID) has completely transformed the textile operations to enhance efficiency, speed process and improvement of information accuracy. The textile industry is an ever-growing industry that contributes significantly to the global economy. The mammoth industry is about to reach USD 1,032.1 billion in 2022. But, it is never easy for a textile business, as textile production is a complex manufacturing procedure that consists of several short-lifecycle processes, complicated supply chains, and distribution activities. And the major challenge is tracking the textiles, starting with the initial raw thread material to woven fabric and finally to distribution and shipment of the fabric rolls. Moreover, inventory management, warehousing, distribution, logistics, automated item tracking, and supply chain management are equally complex.
The textile industry must embrace RFID technology to manage its product cycle to enhance profitability and cope with challenges. It is a comprehensive end-to-end monitoring approach that streamlines everything from spinning mills to retail shops. Additionally, RFID can track the consignment before and after free on board. Unlike barcodes, RFID tags can contain more specific data on items at any stage.
RFID in Textile Industry
The RFID system is an automatic asset tracking and identification method that consists of RFID tags, readers, and software. Moreover, it can preserve asset usage history, provide data to evaluate customer experience and inventory management, and be a comprehensive anti-theft system.
Except for the initial cost of implementing the system, RFID technology can lower the cost of performing niche operations in manufacturing units and retail stores. The main benefit of an RFID system is that it saves labour costs while also providing improved insight into business and customer service. It is best suited for local distribution as well as for global transit.Role of an RFID system in the textile industry
An RFID tag is attached to each object to track it. It is a self-contained electronic gadget that does not require external power to function. It is automatically powered when it comes into contact with the RFID reader's electromagnetic field. The RFID tag consists of an electronic chip that contains details. When an RFID reader requests the chip's data, an antenna embedded into the RFID tag transmits it.
The tag used in a retail store may contain the following data:
- Type, size, brand, and price of wardrobe.
- Section it belongs to
- The number of times the customer checked the item; only if retailers have installed an RFID system on each shelf.
Tags are used in manufacturing facilities to identify various pieces of equipment, raw materials (such as a variety of wools, cotton, buttons, dyes, studs, and other aesthetic materials), and the product itself while it is on the production line. Tags may contain data like:
- Fabrication status of the material in the production line, including the finished tasks and the next section to which it should go.
- Type, size, and category to which the material in fabrication belongs.
- Tags attached to equipment may contain details such as the production section to which it belongs, who can access it, etc.
- Tags are attached to raw materials or boxes that store raw materials. Tags may contain the price range of fabrics they must be used for, type details, who can access them, the quantity left for use, etc.
The RFID reader reads information from tags within its range. Handheld and stationary RFID scanners have different applications in the textile industry.
Let's drive a little deep to know the difference between them.Fixed readers:
Fixed readers are immovable readers installed at a room's entry and exit points. This device will automatically read the tags when they pass near the reader. The functionalities of fixed readers include:
- Automatic registration of the arrival or departure of items from different locations.
- As an anti-theft system that alerts staff when someone tries to take away items
- Help track the production flow by installing RFID readers between each production line section.
- Help to analyze the efficiency of the manufacturing unit and to find inefficiencies.
Tags are searched and found using handheld or portable readers. In the textile business, handheld readers have the following applications:
- Scan and find particular items, whether in a retail store or manufacturing facility.
- Count stock without unboxing batches
- Customers can use readers to find products
The software stores the data read by the RFID reader for analysis and to instruct appropriate action. Other functions of software are:
- It automatically updates stock details while new stock arrives and sells.
- Call for action immediately on stock reduction.
- Better Business Analysis
- Combine online and offline sales.
- Updates on progress in each step of production
Applications of RFID in the Textile industry
Textile manufacturers might need to handle an enormous number of batches of garments for 100s of customers. Sorting batch and maintaining the flow of the fabric roll undergoes specified treatments and processes (including washing, drying, and drying) is a challenging job. RFID technology can streamline these processes by identifying each piece of equipment and garment with less work, implying a lower cost. Complete monitoring of the production cycle includes:
- Track the location and movement of each component.
- It helps to detect semi-finished and finished products.
- It helps to evaluate the performance of departments and individuals by monitoring the rate of movement of the garment components from the departments.
- Avoid the mixing of style and size in packing.
- Counting clothes is simple, even without opening each cartoon.
RFID technology may help to streamline all inventory operations, resulting in improved customer service and employee productivity. Inventory control includes:
- Sorting and tracking clothing more quickly based on size, type, and gender.
- It helps to analyze fast-selling clothes, which provide customized advertisements.
- Since RFID streamlines the processes, it helps to reduce labour hours.
- Track stock details and reduce out-of-stock products owing to unawareness.
- An RFID reader installed at the inventory entry automatically registers the arrival of new batches.
- It eliminates manual counting.
Automatic object tracking
There could be a lot of equipment and devices in the manufacturing facility that carries out specified tasks in various departments. There are chances that the equipment will go missing or get stuck in a department while transferring between them. That could adversely affect the seamless flow of the production cycle.
Tagging each piece of equipment with RFID tags could easily help track and find the equipment. The RFID system may also save the history of equipment movement, which aids in analyzing equipment utilization across departments.
As mentioned above, there might be 100s of customers, and that distribution cycle might have to handle 1000s of batches at a time. There is a risk of misplacing or mixing batches in inventories in manual tracking. The RFID system can eliminate such issues and speed up the distribution process. Other offerings of RFID systems:
- Real-time tracking of batches throughout the distribution cycle
- The driver can easily find out the stocks to be unloaded at each shop.
- Real-time tracking of products enables to give instructions to truck drivers.
- It is easy to count and find out items at the warehouse.
- An anti-theft system ensures no inventories leave the warehouse without concern.
- When an RFID reader identifies items at the warehouse entry, the warehouse system automatically updates the arrival, final destination, pickup date, next destination, etc.
Customer service is very critical in textile retail. Garments should be easily fetchable at call, with sufficient availability of trending products.
- Streamline the process of finding items.
- The anti-theft system for shops' main entrances and fitting rooms
- Reduce labour to handle inventories.
- Tag each item, which helps to trace them.
- Never mix products
- Count and find out items without opening boxes or shelves.
- Easy billing by just reading the tag
- Retail shops may need to handle different brands under the same roof. RFID systems can avoid the mixing of brands.
- RFID also reduces human error in inventory and product management.
Knowing the customer is the only way to do a sale analysis and thus improve sales. The RFID system helps to see the customer's behaviour in-depth, which helps to provide personalized services. Retailers can evaluate customer behaviour over the seasons.
The RFID system also helps in assessing staff productivity. Retailers can use intelligent clothes racks equipped with an RFID antenna. Each time a customer or employee removes an item equipped with an RFID transponder from the rack, the movement will automatically enter into the RFID management system. The time interval between the removal of products from the shelf and their return can assess staff efficiency and consumer interests.
RFEnergie's RFID solutions for textile manufacturing
RFEnergie offers comprehensive RFID solutions for container tracking, document tracking, toll connection, warehouse inventory tracking, laboratory equipment tracking, and other applications.
We provide end-to-end solutions for the textile industry with an extensive range of RFID tags and readers. We have an extensive range of tags well suited for any item.
Furthermore, tags are available in three frequency ranges: LF (Low Frequency), HF (High Frequency), and UHF (Ultra High Frequency). Users can make their selection based on the applications they want to use.