IT in Manufacturing

WLANs aid industry

August 2008 IT in Manufacturing

Cisco technical specialist Marius Vermeulen of Tarsus Technologies says that the general perception in the broader IT market today is that the need for wireless LAN coverage in particular areas or scenarios is driven by nothing more than pure convenience.

“Most members of the IT industry believe that WLANs are designed to make life easier – for example, allowing employees to remain connected to the corporate network while roaming around the office, or easily and neatly connecting a variety of devices to the Internet in their home, or checking e-mail or stock levels by remotely connecting to their corporate network while taking a break at a coffee shop”.

“The reality, however, is that WLAN technology has far more to offer than just convenience. For some industries, WLAN technology is an indispensable time and money saver.”

As an example, Vermeulen cites the industrial and manufacturing verticals, in which manufacturers of high-value products may be at risk from the kind of stock losses and shrinkage that could cripple their business overnight. Where closed circuit cameras and security guards were employed in the past to curtail theft and locate misplaced stock items, today, these mechanisms are being augmented with RFID readers and tags. WLAN technology is enabling these RFID infrastructures to function cost-effectively.

Vermeulen says that as with any conventional manufacturing installation of RFID, products are automatically tagged at the beginning of their production and readers are placed at ‘hot-zones’ within the manufacturing plant. In this way products can be easily tracked and located throughout the production cycle.

Cisco’s location-based solutions can be an economical alternative to running cabling and setting up network hardware in potentially difficult to reach areas of a shopfloor. They allow wireless LAN technology to be employed to act as a backbone for a network of RFID devices.

For more information contact Emma Scott, Tarsus Technologies, +27 (0)11 531 1000,,

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