Azucarera enhances product traceability around goods receipt and dispatch with RFID

azucarera1Zetes recently completed the rollout of the pilot phase of a project based on RFID technology at the giant Azucarera Ebro Guadalete sugar refinery in Jerez, Spain. The system, which is integrated with SAP, improves external product traceability by making it possible to control outgoing lorries loaded with the finished product.

Part of the British Sugar group since May 2009, Azucarera Ebro is Spain’s biggest sugar producer and the world’s second largest sugar group. The company has previously worked with Zetes to improve warehouse management within its refineries by automating logistical processes (inflow of the raw material and outflow of the finished product) at its Guadalete refinery. The two objectives of this latest project are to reduce errors and boost productivity.

Given that the project required remote identification and a design that would allow the future control of internal traffic within the refinery, Zetes’ consultants recommended deploying an automatic identification system via active RFID. Another requirement of the solution was full integration with SAP, Azucarera Ebro’s existing business management system. It was also necessary for the system to interact with existing systems, including the management of barrier and traffic light signals, industrial weighing systems and the verification of weights.

azucarera2The recently deployed pilot phase controls the outflow of the finished product. The solution was installed in just two weeks, including the on-site training of the users. The second phase of the project, which is now ready for deployment, will see the installation of the solution that controls the inflow of the raw material. RFID will make it possible, in this case, to rapidly ascertain and record the origin of raw materials and total weight at unloading. When this second phase is finalised, Azucarera Ebro will have an optimal traceability of its entire logistical chain.

Speaking in January 2010 Ángeles Nogueras, the Azucarera Ebro Project Manager, said: “We are very happy with the solution so far. The first phase of the project is fully up and running. Both the hardware and the software are user-friendly, which means that the staff have been quick to adapt without much input from us.”

By entrusting this latest project to Zetes, Azucarera is reaffirming its confidence in the European identification specialist. Zetes had already been awarded a contract to install automatic labelling systems for pallets of sugar sacks and bags. These systems were developed by MD, Zetes’ Print&Apply division. Zetes has also implemented radiofrequency systems and hand-held and forklift mounted terminals to improve warehouse management.

Juan José Martinez, Senior Vice President of the Zetes Southern Europe region, explains: “We are very proud that Azucarera has put its trust in our services once again. What’s more, this project is very interesting from a technological point of view. RFID offers many possibilities in terms of traceability. Thanks to the Zetes solution, Azucarera Ebro will find it easier to meet the legal constraints imposed by its sector of activity.”