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Traceability Has Become A Prime Issue for Manufacturers

(Windsor, ON September 24, 2010) An informal survey of visitors to its booth at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS 2010) in Chicago last week confirms the importance of traceability, the tracking of the history of components that make up a final product.

“We found that even companies with installed traceability systems are looking to upgrade the amount of information each component can carry and to advance their tracking capabilities. What was somewhat surprising to us was the number of machine shops that have an interest in traceability. We were told that their customers are asking, and in some cases, requiring, detailed information on the parts they are producing. This information will be included in the data that original equipment manufacturers maintain on all of the components within their products,” reveals DataRealm President Dave Fortin.

Fortin reports considerable interest in radio frequency identification (RFID). “We had many discussions with production plants that are looking to use RFID as a means to enhance the detail that can accompany a product, through an RFID tag. Because of this, we are continuing our own research in the development of tags with considerable data capture capabilities. Manufacturers are also considering 2D barcodes that allow them to print thousands of characters of data on a product.”

Security, notes Fortin, has also become an issue. “Many manufacturers told us that they need a way to prove the authenticity of their products. They tell us that it is not uncommon for customers to return defective products to them or their service facilities. These products are actually counterfeit and were not manufactured by them.”

A particular challenge manufacturers face, adds Fortin, is automatically identifying and tracking raw steel stock. “The advantage of this is that it allows manufacturers to increase the effectiveness of their inventory tracking. Because of this, manufacturers in this sector are looking for highly durable marking systems for products that may be stored outdoors. It is something that we have been working on with our partners and have developed some very effective solutions.”

About DataRealm

DataRealm is a leading software integration and controls engineering firm. Its clients include high-volume manufacturers in a variety of industries located throughout North America.

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