METHOD OF ASSEMBLING CUSTOMIZED ITEMS USING RFID
Original Publication Date: 2000-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
We present a method of assembling multicomponent objects, especially those that have options such as cars, computers, furniture, etc. The method involves the use of RF tags onto which the purchase ordered options are written by way of a base station. The base station can obtain the order information by phone, internet or salesperson any of which can enter the information onto the tag after the order is placed in any one of the above mentioned methods. This method will be especially advantageous to the computer industry in order to enable customers to have the computer fabricated by demand, thereby also eliminating large invento- ries and providing efficient distribution. For example, a customer will place an order for a computer according to his(her) desired specifications based on choices from a manual or menu (e.g. a WEB catalog). The order gets logged in, and copied onto a specified RF/ID tag which becomes affixed to the empty or basic box. The box then moves along the assembly line to be loaded with the components as well as the specially ordered ones specified in type4 RF/ID tag. The tag information is made available to the assembler (person or robot) by interrogation of the tag by a local antenna connected to a base station at each specialized assembly step. As the computer is assembled, the tag is further loaded with part and serial number and date (possibly place) of assembly. Finally, the completed box is directed to the corresponding dis- tribution point and the information contained in the RF/ID may be copied onto a general and/or manufacturing database for accurate manufacturing inventory, asset management, war- ranty information etc. Furthermore, the tag information may be copied onto the invoice sent to the customer. Information regarding the distribution and shipping can also be obtained and printed on suitable labels for affixing to the shipping container. In addition to the advantages offered by RF/ID to the manufacturer as explained above, the RF/ID tag can also become a value-add item to the customer. For example, in case of theft recovery, the tag will serve as an identifier and prove ownership. The tag will also enable the customer to determine dates of service and general inventory, especially in large computer installation where there are many computers.