Hansgrohe intensifies assembly processes of bathroom and kitchen fittings with UPM Raflatac RFID inlays

(UPM Raflatac, Tampere, 5 January 2009) - German manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen fittings Hansgrohe has implemented UPM Raflatac’s inlays into its RFID-assisted assembly processes. Hansgrohe uses RFID-enabled kanban (signal) cards to track the flow of containers between its two production sites. The company now enjoys several benefits, including accelerated goods receipt and the certainty of having all the required components readily available for assembly.

Hansgrohe transports components, such as parts for shower and sink faucets, in containers from its Schiltach factory to a production facility in Offenburg. A barcoded kanban card with an embedded RFID inlay is attached inside the sleeves of all shipping containers as they leave the factory. The kanban cards carry data for each component included in the containers.

The containers are then shipped to Offenburg, where assembly takes place. When assembly is complete, personnel pull the kanban cards from the containers and place their collection of kanbans into an RFID reader. The reader identifies each card by its unique ID number, and gathers data concerning the components used into a back-end system.

A solution developed by noFilis collects the data and transfers it to Hansgrohe’s enterprise resource planning system. This way, real time data for used and assembled components is gathered effortlessly into a single database. As a result, Hansgrohe receives accurate information concerning the parts that need to be included in the next day’s delivery from factory to production.

The RFID solution also means that it is no longer necessary to go through each card’s barcode numbers manually. With the time this saves, each member of the assembly personnel is now able to allocate an additional hour each day into more efficient tasks.

At present, Hansgrohe uses some 200-500 kanban cards with UPM Raflatac’s RFID inlays every day. “Special attention has been paid to our Web inlay’s ability to provide high read rates and durability in challenging environments,” says Mikko Nikkanen, Business Development Director, UPM Raflatac, RFID. To date, Hansgrohe have not had a single RFID tag damaged on their kanban cards.

Hansgrohe is an excellent example of a company that has successfully adopted an RFID solution without having to change its operations. Encouraged by the experience, Hansgrohe report that they are considering the use of RFID technology to further increase the automation and transparency of their logistic processes.

For further information, please contact:
Mr Mikko Nikkanen, Business Development Director, RFID, UPM Raflatac, tel. +1 828 275 5162
Mr Tobias Held, SAP Consultant SCM, Hansgrohe AG, tobias.held@hansgrohe.com

About UPM Raflatac
UPM Raflatac, part of UPM's Engineered Materials business group, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of self-adhesive label materials and the world’s number one producer of HF and UHF radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and inlays. UPM Raflatac has a global service network consisting of 14 factories on five continents and a broad network of sales offices and slitting and distribution terminals worldwide. UPM Raflatac employs 2,700 people and made sales of approximately EUR 1 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in 2007. Further information is available at www.upmraflatac.com.

About Hansgrohe
In its 107-year history, Hansgrohe (www.hansgrohe.com), headquartered in Schiltach/Black Forest, has acquired the reputation within the sanitary industry as a leading innovator in technology and design. With its showers, fittings and shower systems, Hansgrohe creates the original products that make the bathroom more functional, more comfortable and more beautiful. In 2007, the Company generated sales of EUR 661 million with its Axor, Hansgrohe, Pharo and Pontos brands (2006: EUR 569 million) – a 16% gain year-on-year. The Company creates new jobs both in Germany and abroad on the back of this performance. The Hansgrohe Group currently has a global workforce of more than 3,200 employees, with two-thirds of them working in Germany. The Company, which takes tough action against product piracy and intellectual property theft, manufactures its products in six German plants, in France, the Netherlands, in the U.S. and in China.

About noFilis
noFilis was founded 2005 with operations in Munich, Germany and St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to standard Software Packages, noFilis offers and provides professional services for RFID-related projects (hardware, software, implementation, concepts, process management, project management, etc.). To fulfill these complex requirements, noFilis partners with Intel Solution Services. Together we provide expertise and knowledge of RFID device related issues, from sensors to network management, from reader's firmware to RFID middleware. We guide you from concept via analysis via testing via pilot to going life - the complete life cycle.