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workshop
RFID workshop at UTSA

Area manufacturers benefit from UTSA laboratory

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(June 13, 2008)--The UTSA Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems (CAMLS), housed in the College of Engineering, recently partnered with the San Antonio Manufacturers Association to conduct a radio frequency identification (RFID) workshop.

RFID is an automatic identification technology that stores and remotely retrieves data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. RFID tags are objects that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves.

The move towards RFID technology continues to rise in both the retail and manufacturing sectors. In 2005, Wal-Mart mandated that all its top suppliers have RFID tags on pallets carrying products delivered to all Wal-Mart distribution warehouses. Now, more manufacturers are implementing RFID systems into their distribution systems.

"Our center is unique to the country in that we try to look at the big picture and show how systems need to be integrated using a systems engineering perspective," said Can Saygin, UTSA associate professor of mechanical engineering. "We look at the methodologies and the kinds of technologies we can bundle together for technology transfer in this industry that generates $14.6 billion for the San Antonio economy."

In addition to seminars, the workshop in the CAMLS laboratory provided an opportunity for participants to receive hands-on experience and see how RFID technology can be used in the workplace.

"Together with their partners, these UTSA engineering students have developed a supply network that demonstrates how information can go back and forth using real-time scenarios," said Glenn Thomsen, Omnitrol Networks business development division. "Just the work they are doing in terms of lean manufacturing applications enabled by automatic identification technologies is cutting-edge research that we are considering and is not being done anywhere else in the country."

"The automation portion and the ability to use this technology is very cutting-edge and I like to see universities embracing this technology," said Scott Denholm, Motorola senior manager for RFID business development. "I see a symbiotic relationship in that UTSA is giving back to the community in the engineering environment and they are getting back in learning how the technologies function in the workplace."

The workshop was cosponsored by the UTSA Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems, San Antonio Manufacturers Association, System ID, Manufacturing Systems and Automation Laboratory, Omnitrol Networks and Motorola.

The College of Engineering is one of UTSA's fastest growing colleges with a 101 percent increase in student enrollment in the last seven years in addition to being one of the nation's leading producers of Hispanic engineers. Its undergraduate programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

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UTSA Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems

Established in April 2007, the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems (CAMLS) has received more than $1.2 million in funding from the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation and private industry to support three manufacturing engineering laboratories and 37 employees in the center.

The center serves as a one-stop, unique source of expertise in flexible and lean technologies and systems, and technology applications in manufacturing, service and defense industries with the intention to work with industrial partners and assist them with manufacturing and system needs.

The center will serve as a catalyst to add master's degree programs in the UTSA College of Engineering. The center benefits industrial partners and College of Engineering students with experience and knowledge to heighten their potential to become tomorrow's leading minds in engineering.

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