We have incorporated RFID technology into our research and teaching, and we set up a simulated distribution center in the lab to illustrate the benefits of using RFID in warehouse applications to our students.
Using a simple web program running on the server and accessible from multiple workstations, we are able to simulate the distribution of our “products” (actually, Lego toys with barcodes and RFID labels on them). We are able to manage inventory items, enter orders, and print pick lists using the web program. Then students can use handheld devices to fill pick lists.
Simulations are run using barcodes and using RFID to show the incremental advantages of each technology. Finally, shipments are verfied using a portal with red and green lights that will indicate if the items are correct.
The lab’s inventory of Auto ID equipment includes 2 handheld RFID readers (one with GPS capability), 2 RFID printer/ encoders, a barcode printer, an Omron compliance system, a wireless barcode reader and several wired barcode readers. The lab also includes a docking station with Alien RFID equipment.