In order to solve these issues, AGC has independently developed a “pallet IoT system”, the effectiveness of which was confirmed through trial introduction in 2019, and full-scale operation in Japan began on March 2, 2020.
• Halve the loss of pallets and reduce costs
• Improve transportation efficiency by reflecting pallet positions, stock, and stagnation information in transportation plans such as routes and loads
• Reduce CO2 emissions during transportation by 1 to 5% through improved transportation efficiency
AGC is considering further expanding the range of products covered by the “pallet IoT system”, as well as introducing the system in Europe and Asia, with a target of 30,000 pallets by 2022.
■ About the logistics trackers
For the first time in Japan, AGC has adopted “logistics trackers”*2, IoT modules made by Alps Alpine for managing logistics materials, installing one on each pallet. Sigfox*3 was adopted for the LPWA*4 communication technology, realizing low cost, low power consumption, and long-distance transmission. The product can be operated for 10 years without needing to be charged, and pallet movements are measured whenever it is moved and at specific intervals, after which the position information and operating status is sent to the position management information system.
*2 In Europe, as of last year 250,000 units were in operation for DHL.
*3 A communication service provided by Sigfox. It specializes in IoT and has been deployed in more than 70 countries as “0G communication”, and in Japan is handled by Kyocera Communication Systems Co.
*4 Low Power Wide Area communication: Allows for communication over a wide area with a small amount of power consumption, making it suitable for use in locations where it is difficult to secure a power source or for IoT situations where battery replacements need to be minimized.
Alps Alpine Co., Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of electronic components and vehicle on-board information equipment. It has produced numerous industry-first and No. 1 products since its foundation in 1948. They currently have 110 bases located across 26 countries worldwide and provide approx. 40,000 products and solutions to approx. 2,000 customers worldwide. These include device products such as switches, sensors, and data communication modules, unit products such as electronic shifters for vehicles and car navigation systems for commercial use, and systems and services such as smartphone apps and digital keys that utilize blockchains.