Sun, NOL set up S'pore RFID testing center

Facility will help customers simulate radio frequency identification-enabled processes and applications in a warehouse environment.

SINGAPORE--Transportation and logistics company Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), and Sun Microsystems on Friday launched a S$2.7 million (US$1.6 million) testing facility for supply-chain related radio frequency identification (RFID) applications.

Stocked with equipment that enable tasks such as packaging and tag testing, as well as compliance and integration services, the NOL-Sun Advanced Technology Centre provides a platform for customers to evaluate RFID technologies and applications in a live supply-chain environment. The center is located in a warehouse operated by NOL.

During a demonstration, officials showed how the center simulates key logistics processes in a real warehouse, and tests data capture and visibility at each stage of the supply chain using Sun's RFID-enabled hardware and software.

Executives from both companies noted that NOL provides the material handling equipment and warehouse facility, while Sun contributes hardware and RFID applications and middleware. "But both companies will contribute the experience and knowledge of our people," said Alan Wilson, Sun's senior vice president of client solutions delivery.

At least 15 trained personnel collectively from both companies, currently operate the facility, he added. Sun has similar RFID test centers in the United States and Europe, but the facility marks NOL's first venture into this area.

Cindy Stoddard, CIO of NOL, revealed that its global customers such as Colgate, Philips and Rubbermaid, have already sent products to the facility for testing. She added that it made sense for the facility to be built in Singapore as many of the customers' products are produced in Asia.

The cost of using the facility would depend on "the scope and size of the project" that the customer is running," Stoddard said.