Rockwell Automation Creates RFID Test Lab

Designed to help manufacturers understand long-term benefits beyond current compliance

Milwaukee — June 24, 2004 — Industrial automation power, control and information solutions provider Rockwell Automation today announced that it has opened a new radio frequency identification (RFID) test lab at the company's global headquarters in Milwaukee.

The lab is designed to help manufacturers that are facing production and inventory mandates from retailers, such as Wal-Mart, understand how they can make RFID technology an integral part of their distribution operations.

"RFID will fundamentally change supply chain management and the way industry tracks, traces and manages the products that are delivered to retailers and consumers," said Sujeet Chand, chief technology officer, Rockwell Automation. "With this lab, we're helping manufacturers look beyond the current, short-term mandates and understand how they can integrate RFID as a tool for improving future manufacturing efficiencies and distribution."

Rockwell Automation said the RFID test lab replicates situations that are designed to help manufacturers capture detailed, real-time information that drives line production and synchronizes supply-chain tracking and tracing.

The lab combines existing Rockwell Automation expertise with a simulated factory environment to allow accurate testing and evaluation of a wide variety of RFID products. Additionally, Rockwell Automation test lab engineers offer visitors advice on the best methods for leveraging RFID-gathered data to improve factory efficiency and productivity.

To mark the official opening of the lab, nearly 75 business and academic representatives from the University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium recently spent a day touring the facility and learning about the long-term business benefits that can be achieved by integrating this new technology with existing systems.

"RFID technology is still in its infancy," said Professor Raj Veeramani, director of the UW E-Business Consortium. "The Rockwell Automation RFID test lab will help manufacturers look before they leap, providing them with direction, and a way to see how they can integrate this new technology into their existing infrastructure."

Simulating a factory conveyor, packaging station and a dock door, the Rockwell Automation test lab currently incorporates the company's own products as well as elements from Alien Technology Corp., FKI Logistex, SAMSys Technologies Inc., ConnecTerra Inc., and Zebra Technologies Corp. to help test and integrate RFID technology in distribution centers and factories.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs approximately 20,000 people, serving customers in more than 80 countries.

Loading