Omni-ID & Whirlpool Corporation
AIM 2014 RFID Case Study Competition Participant
The Business and Technical Challenge
Whirlpool’s Clyde Division located in the state of Ohio is the largest washing machine manufacturing facility in the world. At approximately 2.4M square feet, this facility produces more than 5M washing machines per year and employs about 3200 people.
Like many other manufacturing facilities, Whirlpool manages workflows primarily with a paper based system. Paper tags are placed on items or racks of items with instruction on where they are to be placed next in the process, or tagged with a different color for a QA check or even to identify a particular part number. If a paper tag falls off, is misplaced on the wrong rack or item, it causes a break in the flow and there is no way to track it. A worker is sent out to the floor to find that missing rack of parts in order for the process to continue. At the end of the day, a manual inventory is taken to account for the work in process items and to plan production for the next day.
Based on the market demand for a broader selection of price points and product features, over time the number of models manufactured has increased. The Company needed to figure out a way to better meet the market demand, on-demand. The paper-based process wasn’t providing the level of visibility into the work-in-process that was necessary for accurate production planning by assembly operations.
The selected solution: Omni-ID’s ProVIEW visual tagging system and RFID. The team at Whirlpool worked closely with Omni-ID to install, test and validate a solution to eliminate the use of hanging paper tags. The display screens, would allow part identification without scanning, and would eliminate paper from the process – while providing the same level of visual instruction to operators and drivers.