Toyota Case Study

Toyota Case Study Image

Toyota implement latest wireless technology to maximise vehicle usage


The Toyota manufacturing plant at Burnaston near Derby produces a number of models of cars. The site has many deliveries of parts & components using HGV’s (trailers) per day and this need managing in respect of where the HGV drivers park the trailer in the large yard.

Toyota wanted to maximize the use of their Tug vehicles that move the trailers from their parking bay to the appropriate dock door on the production line. They also want to remove the risk of the Tug driver taking the wrong trailer, thus wasting time and potentially stopping the production line due to lack of components.

They also wanted to control the third-party HGV drivers when they arrive at site, ensuring that the go to the correct parking bay, thus knowing exactly where the trailer is.

Central control and the ability to prioritise the delivery of parts to the line-side are also desirable.

The Solution

When an HGV/trailer arrives at the site gatehouse, the driver and trailer will be logged. He will also be given a Nordic ID Morphic RFID Handheld and magnetic RFID tag, The tag & Morphic is be logged out to the driver using a Stix RFID reader connected to the PC in the Gatehouse. In this way, the gatehouse has an audit trail of the Morphics/Tags allocated to each driver.

Nordic ID Morphic CD RFID Handheld

The driver then goes to the trailer yard and parks his trailer at the specified parking bay (given by the Morphic handheld). He then places the Magnetic RFID tag on the header board (front of the trailer) and reads it with the Morphic CD. He then reads the parking bay tag too (this tag is embedded into each parking bay floor). This information is sent via the Morphic over the WiFi network back to the host system, which then knows the trailer and where it was parked. As such, the Toyota knows which trailer (and therefore parts) is available for production planning.

Parking bay RFID tag fitted in concrete

The HGV driver then departs the site and at the Gatehouse returns the Morphic.

When parts are required to be taken to the production line, the trailers are retrieved by Tugs. These are equipped with a rugged tablet computer (complete with WiFi & GPS).

Tablet Computer in the Tug cab.

The Tablet computer is connected to a Nordic ID Sampo RFID reader located behind the cab. This allows the Tug to read the RFID tag placed on the trailer header board by the HGV driver, thus identifying the Trailer as the Tug reverses up to it (the driver does not need to do anything, but is informed if it is the incorrect trailer).

Sampo reader/antenna behind Tug cab.

A further Sampo Reader located just in front of the rear offside wheel, picks up the parking bay floor tag, further confirming the correct trailer location. Only when both tags are correct, will the driver be told where to take the trailer (the WiFi link allows confirmation back to the host system).

Sampo antenna by the rear wheel

The Tablet computer is connected to the Sampos by Power-over-Ethernet; this makes for a very clean and simple installation. Each Sampo, being out in the open, is enclosed in a plastic IP67 case and external cabling is protected by flexible plastic copex. The Sampos and enclosures are exposed to rain, spray, vibration and shock on these Tug vehicles. However, their reliability is very good.

The tablet computer also has a GPS receiver attached to it. This allows the host system to find the nearest ‘free’ Tug to pick up a trailer, thus minimizing travel time. There are 10 Tugs fitted with this solution.


Immediate knowledge of when and where an HGV driver has located a trailer; no searching for a lost trailer, no wasted time.

Central knowledge of all trailers and their contents on the host system; better production planning.

Real-time location of the Tugs and the ability to issue them new or urgent jobs based on their proximity to the required trailer; reduced travel time, ability to queue jobs.

RFID enabled trailer allows Trailer checking as the driver reverses; no need to exit the cab; quicker turnaround of a job.

RFID enabled parking & loading bays ensure correct Trailer is picked and delivered to the correct loading bay on the line side; no wrong components to line side, wasted time and possible line stoppages.