Tracking Products

Whether concerned with the potential impact of product recalls or worried about terrorist threats to the food chain, manufacturing managers are turning to tracking and tracing applications to solve those problems.

This issue of Automation World explores ways that manufacturing professionals are using these new technologies, not only to comply with regulatory mandates but also to improve business performance.

Tracing the genealogy of products—accurately and in real time—holds the potential to sharply limit the cost of a recall, in addition to meeting the proposed requirements of the Bioterrorism Act. Automation World Editor In Chief Gary Mintchell explores business performance improvements realized as a byproduct of meeting these requirements, in an article beginning on page 30.

Which is better for product tracking—RFID or bar codes? Automation World Contributing Editor James Koelsch sorts through the hype and makes sense of the debate in an article that begins on page 34.

The software technologies for storing all of the data from tracking applications boil down to either relational databases or historians. Contributing Editor Rob Spiegel, in an article beginning on page 38, evaluates the two and reveals when to use which.

The European Union Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive has electronics manufacturers scrambling to assure that their products are free from illicit substances. Wes Iversen, Automation World managing editor, discovered a UL program that may help them stay on the good side of the law. His report begins on page 42.

This issue also includes a special report on how intelligent sensing systems have helped a Tier One automotive supplier deliver consistently good products at the right time at the right price. Automation World Editor In Chief Gary Mintchell reveals the secret in this article beginning on page 47.

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