UK: Commercial fridge rental company Lowe is extending its use of advanced RFID tracking technology to its US operations.

Lowe Rental first introduced smart barcodes and RFID (radio frequency identification) in 2016, deploying the technology at its headquarters in Lisburn, Northern Ireland and its operations in England, Scotland and Germany over the last two years.

The system, supplied by UK company CoreRFID, will now be introduced in its US depots in Las Vegas, Nevada and Fairburn, near Atlanta, Georgia. Lowe is also working with CoreRFID to extend the system to its distribution warehouses in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai.

Lowe rents out over 10,000 items worldwide including fridges, freezers, catering equipment and temporary kitchens and supplies high-profile events from horse racing at Royal Ascot to the Singapore Grand Prix, the world’s largest food and beverage exhibitions and some of the biggest retail stores worldwide.

The use of RFID tracking is said to have saved weeks of staff time and recorded an almost 100% accuracy rate. Previously each item entering or leaving the warehouse was identified by a six-digit code, which had to be manually recorded by staff using a paper-based system. Now the codes have been replaced by RFID tags, which are detected automatically by RFID readers at the exits and the information downloaded to the database.

The new system enables instantaneous reporting and audits, which took one week under the old manual system, can now be completed in under half a day, using a mobile phone reader app which can monitor the tags from up to 2m away.

“CoreRFID’s system has transformed our operation. By automating the whole tracking process, it has allowed us to save time and achieve near perfect accuracy levels. The solution works well in tandem with our existing systems,” said Lowe’s European operations director Ian Lowry.

“It’s a natural progression to roll out the system to our US operations after the massively positive impact it has had in Europe and the potential to make a great difference to our efficiency in Asia,” he added.