Length of the project 1.3.2011 - 28.2.2013
Diaarinumero 3142/31/10


Visibility and traceability to the processes and events of products life cycle deteriorates quickly after the beginning of life.
Generally the information flow breaks down after the delivery of the product to the customer and in the end of life there is quite a little information available for the recycling operators to make end of life decisions.
The information breakdown prevents also the feedback of data, information and knowledge, from use, service, maintenance and recycling back to the designers and producers. To enable information sharing over the life cycle products must be comprehensively identified and life cycle data recorded. There is an identified need within manufacturing industry to have a comprehensive traceability to all the phases and events of a products' life cycle. Most producers have several independent legacy systems dealing with particular processes inside company's value network. Data exchange between the systems is often very limited and difficult. Third parties, like service operators, have no or very limited access to the systems.


Product life cycle information should be stored in a way that it enables access to the collected information in all the phases of the life cycle with the unique identifier of the products. This enables all the accredited actors (e.g. condition monitoring and service operators) over the life cycle to examine the anatomy and the usage history of a product. For example the end-of-life operators need to know what the product contains, how to dismantle it and what should be recovered.
A globally available and standardized method to identify products and access product information is seen as a solution to improve the flow of information.

Item level identification can be economically utilized in almost all the phases of life cycle in laarge range of products. The following paragraphs expose some benefits available in different processes on the life cycle of products.
In production processes the monitoring and control of the movements of components, modules and assembled products can be real-time and traceability greatly improved. In manufacturing value network the data exchange between supplier and producer can be improved when all relevant information can be accessed via a common interface.
One of the most obvious processes to improve the efficiency and utilize identification technology is the logistic processes. The visibility and traceability of the inbound supply chain and the deliveries from factory or hub to the customer can be drastically improved. This leads to improved on-time-delivery and quality figures, because all deviations in processes can be easily spotted and preventive actions can be launched immediately. Services
In service operations the availability of relevant product data is crucial. For example a service technician replacing a faulty unit needs to know exactly the attributes of the unit (e.g. sw version, configuration) to be able to order and replace the unit with identical one. Id with a sensoring functionality enables the availability of usage data e.g. operating hours and surrounded conditions. This information is useful when the condition of products (prognosis) or the rationality of repairs is being assessed.

In recycling the possibility to automatically identify products and the contents is very valuable. This enables automated processes and more precise sorting of materials. The identification of products and producers in the end of life enables also the correct targeting of producer responsibilities defined in WEEE directive (Clearing house functionality).
The availability of life cycle data also enables utilization of the data in the R&D and marketing departments of original producers.


Antti Laurikainen