Wal-Mart to Integrate RFID into Lift Trucks

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is working with lift truck manufacturers to integrate RFID into its lift trucks.

Forkliftaction.com reported that 1,300 of Wal-Mart’s 3,600 U.S. locations are equipped with RFID technology, but not yet on lift trucks. The news Web site reported that lift trucks in the Wal-Mart stores segment lack a critical wiring retrofit that manufacturers or service centers are expected to perform.

Crown Equipment Corp. (New Bremen, Ohio) and Raymond Corp. (Greene, N.Y.) both supply electric lift trucks to Wal-Mart.

Raymond has engineered a pouch within a lift truck’s load backrest to accommodate two styles of tag readers and also designed ways to route power cabling to the reader. The system has reportedly not yet entered the commercial market.

Lift truck orders will incorporate newly designed specifications for the recessed compartment for the lift truck-mounted reader and suitable conduit to contain the wiring.

Sam’s Club is also making steady progress with RFID technology. The Wal-Mart subsidiary intends to use RFID in 591 locations in the U.S. and six in Canada. Two Sam’s Club locations have tag readers on lift trucks. Sam’s Club tags pallets, not individual high-value products or mixed pallets.

On Jan. 30, the Sam’s Club DC in DeSoto, Texas, began requiring upstream suppliers to apply RFID EPC labels on pallets. Sam’s Club levies a per-pallet fee up to $3 for noncompliance. Sam’s Club is requiring suppliers to progress toward case-level and sellable-unit-level tagging.

Sam’s Club DCs in Kansas City, Mo., Searcy, Ark., Dayton, Texas, and Villa Rica, Ga., will add the pallet-tagging requirement in October, and the 17 remaining DCs in the U.S. will join them in January 2009.

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