Sun Set to Open New RFID Test Center

Dallas-based facility showcases technologies to meet radio frequency identification compliance mandates; Provia touts WMS use

Dallas-based facility showcases technologies to meet radio frequency identification compliance mandates; Provia touts WMS use

Grand Rapids, MI — April 21, 2004 — Technology company Sun Microsystems is using a warehouse management system (WMS) from Provia Software at a new testing facility intended to help quell the fears of companies looking to initiate a radio frequency identification (RFID) compliance program and quickly help them achieve compliance status, according to an announcement from Provia.

Sun's state-of-the-art RFID Test Center, located in Dallas, is designed to showcase an end-to-end RFID solution. The 17,000-square-foot warehouse facility, slated to open May 5, is equipped to meet the electronic product code (EPC) standards and RFID compliance requirements for tagging and testing of products at the pallet and case level.

"The idea of RFID implementation can seem insurmountable," said Paul Crist, vice president of sales and marketing for Provia, whose ViaWare WMS is being used as the supply chain execution system at the center. "Provia and Sun are here to demonstrate the actual tangible process to companies and help them build a map to RFID compliance."

Crist described the center as the first of its kind, a working warehouse where companies can test how the entire system works before they invest in RFID technology. "Companies can use the test center to evaluate how they can incorporate RFID into their manufacturing, warehouse and distribution environments, develop production of a full scale product tagging plan and come away with an end-to-end architecture for the implementation at their site," Crist said.

"We are excited to have Provia as an integrated partner into our test center offering," said Julie Sarbacker, director of the Auto-ID Business Unit at Sun Microsystems. "Together we will provide suppliers to Wal-Mart and others with a facility and the technical expertise to get their RFID implementations achieved correctly the first time."

In addition to showcasing a warehouse environment equipped with RFID readers installed at dock doors and warehouse forklift portals, the test center contains material handling pallet conveyers and high speed conveyor station products for advanced tagging and testing of RFID tagged products.

According to Provia, integration with the provider's WMS will allow for automated processing of advance ship notifications (ASNs). The initial use for the test center will be for pallet acceptance into the center via dock doors, but testing will expand to the tracking of products to various test stations, such as pallet conveyors, high-speed tracks and pallet racks.