Radio Gets Everywhere, RF Tags


IdeasAnvil worked in partnership with another company, OptimumFX, to design, build and install a novel mould tracking system and database for Games Workshop, the world leader in the manufacture of fantasy war gaming figures, magazines and accessories.


At Games Workshop they use a large number of silicone moulds that are filled with molten metal and spun at high speed to produce a wide range of cast figures. As part of their ongoing quality control and manufacturing improvement processes they need to be able to track these moulds both day-to-day as they pass through the manufacturing cycle but also over the lifetime of the moulds to provide continuous improvement data


A wide range of traditional marking, scanning and tracking methods were tested but because of the mould materials involved and the extreme mechanical and thermal environment that the moulds operate in something new was required. We found a supplier, Identify Direct, of small radio tracking tags that are normally used in the garment cleaning industry, but have a very high thermal, mechanical and moisture ingress resistance. The tags are embedded in the moulds and are then tracked in the manufacturing process using a network of custom designed radio antenna 'readers'. A networked database is used to store all the manufacturing details for each mould. The database system is also directly controls an A3 flat-bed scanner and high quality printer and is able to store and present images of each mould to operators. The database links directly to the manufacturing control system where it provides data for controlling the live manufacturing process.


The system also automatically generates data which is used by the site managers to integrate with their CS/3 manufacturing planning system.


System features:

  • Novel use of radio data tags used in a hostile environment
  • Live production data available to the manufacturing control system across manufacturing network
  • Simple GUI front end for operators to input and update mould data, integrated with an A3 flat-bed scanner and hand-held radio tag reader for day-to-day use and data maintenance
  • Networked, automated data reporting tool for management use with integrated data backup facility, remote management capacity


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