Magazine Article | August 1, 2005

The Coleman Company's RFID Solution Ensures Tag Compliance

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, August 2005

The Coleman Company is an $800 million manufacturer of outdoor equipment and camping gear. Like other companies in Wal-Mart's top 200 supplier list, Coleman had to comply with Wal-Mart's RFID mandate in order to continue doing business with the retail giant.

Prior to rolling out an RFID solution in 2004, Coleman had concerns about handling untagged or improperly tagged cartons placed on the conveyor belt at its distribution center. "We tested readers from three RFID vendors, and ADT Security Services, Inc.'s Sensormatic intelligent reader came out on top," says Jim Hopper, continuous improvement — senior black belt at Coleman.

With help from ADT, Coleman programmed four of its Sensormatic readers and placed them on two conveyors. One set of readers writes to tags attached to cases, and the other set detects cases with missing or malfunctioning tags. Coleman's RFID solution comprises an electric eye that senses a carton as it moves on the conveyor belt and signals the RFID reader to read the RFID tag. If there is no tag or the tag is broken, the reader signals to the conveyor belt to stop. This allows a Coleman employee to remove the carton or to place a new working tag on the carton.

Coleman's RFID system centers on ADT's specialized Sensormatic Agile 2 Reader, which features a general purpose input/output (GPIO) adapter. The adapter enables the reader to interact with the warehouse system in order to conduct a variety of operations that can enhance the RFID system by commanding a conveyor belt to halt, for example, or flashing a light to indicate a good, bad, or weak tag or sending different items to different parts of the distribution center.

"The intelligent readers enable us to move our products as efficiently as possible through our RFID process and strengthen our relationships with our retail partners by ensuring that only properly tagged items leave our facility," says Hopper.