Wireless Applications

Aeroscout Customer Viracon Named a Winner

July 2, 2009

The glass manufacturer has been awarded top honors in the Managing Automation 2009 Progressive Manufacturing 100 Awards in the category of operational excellence mastery for its asset tracking achievements across three facilities.

OWATONNA, MN and REDWOOD CITY, CA -- Viracon, a leading architectural glass fabricator in the United States and a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises (NASDAQ: APOG), and AeroScout, the leading provider of Unified Asset Visibility for improving operational efficiency, announced that Viracon has been named a winner of the fifth annual Progressive Manufacturing 100 Awards, receiving top honors in the category of Operational Excellence Mastery. Viracon received the honors for its effective use of AeroScout's Wi-Fi RFID Asset Tracking solution to accurately track the location of more than 5,000 glass carriers throughout its three manufacturing facilities. As a result, Viracon has increased its success rate in pinpointing the exact location of carriers to over 99%, cut the reproduction and scrap of lost carriers by 65% and significantly improved productivity and production cycle times.

Sheila Meixner, vice president of process improvement at Viracon, said, "At Viracon we're constantly looking for ways to operate more efficiently; so we are proud of our Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award and the results we've achieved with the AeroScout Asset Tracking solution. In fact, the project has been so successful that it paid for itself within six months of installation."

Based in Owatonna, MN, Viracon has 2,000 employees and produces high-performance glass products, including tempered, laminated, insulating, silk-screened and high-performance coatings. Over the last three decades Viracon has produced and installed more than 500 million square feet of glazing for over 100,000 buildings, including some of the most remarkable buildings throughout the world.

With the AeroScout solution, Viracon tracks 5,800 work-in-process glass carriers in its three manufacturing campuses in Minnesota, Georgia and Utah. The solution reduces cycle time and scrap, and ensures that the correct glass is transported on time to its correct destination throughout the various fabrication processes.

AeroScout Wi-Fi Tags are attached to all in-process glass carriers, providing shop-floor operators with complete visibility of glass carriers as they move freely throughout the manufacturing facilities. The solution leverages Viracon's Cisco Unified Wireless Network to avoid the need for a dedicated network of readers to enable location determination. When operators need to find a particular glass carrier, they search for it using AeroScout's MobileView software on computer terminals on the shop floor. The real-time location of the required carrier is presented on a site map on the computer screen, allowing operators to locate carriers within seconds.

"Viracon is an excellent case study of a company using AeroScout solutions to drive lean manufacturing and operational efficiency," said Gabi Daniely, vice president of marketing and product strategy at AeroScout. "Best of all, Viracon was able to use its existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network to add asset tracking and management solutions, which made the installation quick and easy and has reduced the total cost of ownership of the solution. The combination of quicker deployment and significant efficiency gains led to Viracon achieving a six-month payback on the project."

The Viracon and AeroScout implementation was chosen for the PM100 award by an independent and prestigious judging panel chaired by David R. Brousell, Editor-in-Chief, Managing Automation Media, and Jeff Moad, Executive Editor, Managing Automation (a Thomas Publishing Company, LLC publication). The PM100 recognizes 100 projects that have achieved distinction in at least one of the eight core disciplines defined by Managing Automation Media as critical to business success in the years ahead. Companies that achieve Operational Excellence are those that have mastered the ideas of continuous improvement as advocated in such disciplines as Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. And they achieve measurable excellence not only in internal operations, but also in those processes that involve customers, partners and suppliers.

"In the face of one of the worst economic downturns in history, these winning companies dramatically underscore how the manufacturing industry will not only get through this period, but emerge in an even stronger position once a recovery takes hold," said Brousell, "These companies are leading the way to a better future for all industry."

AeroScout will be showcasing its Asset Tracking solution and all of its Unified Asset Visibility solutions in booth #349 at Cisco Live! held in San Francisco, Calif., June 27–July 2.

About Managing Automation Media
Managing Automation Media, a division of Thomas Publishing Company, LLC, provides a complete set of decision-support informational tools for executives and technology decision-makers at progressive manufacturers - companies that are using information and automation technologies to transform their businesses and create a sustainable competitive advantage. In North America with Managing Automation, and now also in EMEA with Manufacturing Executive, they deliver access to the most influential decision-makers in manufacturing.

About Viracon
Viracon Inc. is based in Owatonna, MN, and has facilities in Statesboro, GA and St. George, UT. The company is an international company of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. Viracon produces high-performance glass products, including tempered, laminated, insulating, silk-screened and high-performance coatings. Apogee Enterprises, Inc. is a leading fabricator, distributor and installer of value-added glass products and systems. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company's stock is traded on NASDAQ under the symbol APOG.

About AeroScout
AeroScout is the market leader in Unified Asset Visibility solutions. Customers improve operational efficiency using AeroScout products that leverage standard Wi-Fi networks to track and manage the location, condition and status of mobile assets and people. AeroScout's global customer base consists of leading hospital, manufacturing and logistics organizations, including many of the Fortune 500. The company invented the first Wi-Fi-based Active RFID tag, and today is widely recognized as leading the market in number of deployments and tags shipped. Headquartered in Redwood City, CA, AeroScout has offices in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

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