SAP WM- Process, Functionality, Scope, Benefits, Advantages, Disadvantage-Complete Reference-Part 4
SAP RF/RFID SYSTEMS INSTALLATION IN WAREHOUSE
Hand held RF Device for Scanning RF Vehicle Mounted
Schematic Diagram of Showing the connection of RF Device to RF Antenna
Introduction to RF Device Installation in Warehouse
Companies that have deployed SAP Warehouse management (WM) software have come to rely on its flexibility and capabilities in managing increasingly complex and time-sensitive shipping, receiving and warehousing tasks. Extending the capabilities of SAP WM software to mobile workers increases the ability to gather data and direct operations in a seamless and efficient manner. Understanding the requirements and capabilities of mobile terminals in an SAP environment can help make the right decisions at the right time. RF in automatic identification systems, the most rapidly growing segment of today’s automatic data collection (AIDC) industry. RFID (radio frequency identification) uses radio frequency signals to identify “tagged” items, cases and pallets as they move through the supply chain. This data is then collected and transmitted to a host system using an RF Reader.
RFID Active Tag
To increase the productivity in Warehouse. many companies use RF devices and RFID tags.by using RF Devices to collect data from bar codes, Warehouse operators can save time and reduce data entry errors, Although RF devices can be used with many software products, SAP offers the ability to
connect devices to sap ERP without middle-ware, SAP customers can execute transactions on RF devices that are either handheld or forklift- mounted.
one of the benefits is that the functionality in SAP ERP is real time so scans entered into a transaction can be immediately accessed. however RF tech will have limitations that are overcome by developing RFID Tech.
RFID is a means of identifying an object, whether pallet, case, or individual item. using RF transmission. communication takes place between reader and a Tag. Tag can be either active which means they are powered bt batteries or passive powered by the reader field.
Many people will come across the question is RF and RFID same or different ?
Answer is :- both are Different. here after you can even strongly tell this in your Interviews 😉
First different of RFID and RF is RF is not re-usable but RFID is Reusable.
Second thing RF is read only and RFID is read/Write & Read only..(Comes in both the types but all depends how a client budget and thier linking. but better would be Read/Write to be get suggested..)
Thirdly line of Sight is more required for operation/Maintenance whereas RFID is – No line of sight is required. it can be operated Remotely without any disturbance,
Fourthly RF requires operator to read the information through RF Device only he cannot understand in naked or openly because of the bar code pattern involved Whereas RFID user can read in naked eye without any special arrangement. it is like a display. so when e crossed it he can check easily. in a readable format.
Fifth point here is difference in Identification. RF is Product level Identification and RFID is Object level Identification.
Sixth point – RF would be Susceptible to the environment and RFID is less Susceptible to environment.
A Basic RFID System
RFID Device (transponder, tag, smart label, card, etc.) – contains data about the tagged item
Antenna – transmits the RF signals between the reader and the RFID device
Reader – receives RF transmissions from an RFID device and transmits to a host system for processing
Will RFID replace Barcodes?
Most experts agree that RFID will coexist with traditional barcodes for many years to come. RFID is an extension of barcode data collection systems for enhanced tracking of items through the supply chain network.
New RFID label printers marry these two technologies for the best of both worlds. These printers are able to print barcodes, human-readable text, and graphics on the surface of a pressure sensitive label and then encode the RFID chip embedded as part of the label.
How does RFID work?
RF signals are electromagnetic waves classified according to their wavelength frequency. The most commonly recognized ranges are low (LF), high (HF), ultra-high (UHF) and micro-wave (uW). Current RFID technology uses frequency ranges from 50 kHz to 5.8GHz. The higher the frequency, the higher the throughput or rates of data transfer.
Typical RFID System Frequency Ranges
Low Frequency (125 KHz) has a maximum read range of up to 20 inches
High Frequency (13.56 MHz) has a maximum read range of up to 3 feet
Ultra-High Frequency (868 MHz – Europe) (915 MHz – US) has a read range of 20 feet or more
Microwave Frequency (2.45 GHz) has a read range of up to 1 meter as a passive tag or longer range as an active tag
Like a barcode system that uses an optical signal reader or scanner to interpret data contained in a barcode, an RFID system uses an RF reader to receive radio frequency signals from RFID devices containing stored data. Unlike barcode systems, RFID systems do not require lineof- site to read the RF tags. This along with the ability to read many tags at once is the major factor driving interest in RFID technology.
An RFID device such as a tag or label contains data, much more data than a barcode, which uniquely identifies the item it is attached to. Stored data can include; a description of the item, manufacture date, time the item passed a certain point in the supply chain, serial number and much more.
This data is transmitted from the RFID tag to the RFID reader, which in turn communicates to a host computer or information management system, which could be running a WCS (warehouse control system) or WMS (warehouse management system) application.
Improvements to Supply Chain
Time and Labour Savings – “field” reading allows the scanning of multiple items in seconds without unloading a pallet. This also eliminates the possibility of a receiving clerk failing to scan all items.
Increased Control – tags with read/write capabilities permit data to be updated throughout the supply chain, highlighting problem areas and enabling faster responses.
Flexible Product Flow – RFID as part of supply chain management enables real time decision making for a more flexible and responsive supply chain execution. Decisions can be made to redirect product flow to meet changing customer demands.
Enhanced Customer Service – instant status information leads to more accurate delivery dates and increased ability to respond to urgent orders.
Security – better tracking, reduced inventory shrinkage (loss), reduced counterfeiting
A study by RF Domain Forum estimates that RFID systems can improve demand forecast accuracy for consumer packaged goods manufacturers by 10-20%. Other projected benefits include a 10-30% reduction in required inventory levels and 1-2% sales improvement attributable to reduced out-of-stock occurrences. Additional studies have been done to illustrate additional benefits to be gained from RFID tagging throughout the supply chain.
Because RFID tags can be read through packaging, shipping containers and other material, incoming pallets do not have to be unloaded for scanning and identification. The shipping container and the items inside are read and identified instantly. This allows them to be automatically sent to a specific manufacturing line or routed for delivery.
For improved manufacturing processes, RFID tags can be applied to sub assemblies. By integrating RFID systems into the manufacturing process items can be tracked and routed automatically through the assembly processes.
An item’s RFID tag can be used to access a comprehensive history of that item stored on a host server. This can be as simple as a serial number or can include a detailed maintenance history. This information can then be used to verify warranty repairs or for product recalls.
Pharmaceutical companies can benefit from increased safety and security as well as a more efficient supply chain. RFID systems can monitor assembly and packaging processes to ensure medications are properly packaged and labelled. The use of unique identifying ID numbers makes counterfeiting much more difficult. Even if the package and UPC are the same, the ID number will not match. RFID tags can also ALERT pharmacies when a drug is out-of-date or part of a recall.
Many retailers, starting with Wal-Mart, are requiring their suppliers to add RFID tags to cases and pallets. While some say that the time line put in place by Wal-Mart is too aggressive, the push is on for use of RFID to streamline manufacturing processes and improve supply chain management.
It may be the retailers that are demanding implementation of RFID, but this technology has the potential to become as pervasive as barcodes in all aspects of industry. Those manufacturers that were skeptical of barcode labels when they were first required now realize the cost savings and efficiencies this technology has provided them. RFID technology could foster similar results.
RFID tags will not replace barcodes. Instead most experts agree that the two technologies will be used together for the foreseeable future. Human readable identification will still be needed in the event an RFID tag fails.
RF- Supported Warehouse Processes
The Mobile Data Entry RF solution supports the following warehouse processes:
Packing and unpacking
Loading and unloading
Serial number capture
Movement by storage unit
What is WM Consultant’s role in RF solution ?
SAP WM consultant needs to provide suggestion after getting the actual requirement from client. For Eg.. he needs to gather information related to the height of the RF antenna and the perimeter of the warehouse which needs to be covered by RF device I mean wireless system.
How much devices needs to be installed and volume of data and for which application and type of usage ex..Hand held, vehicle mounted..etc..
For ex..SAP recommends to use antenna height of 20 m. This i got information from RF journals and web sites..and intern it depends on the warehouse area ..
Current days SAP console system replaced by ITS Mobile system due to its advantages..and in my experience i heard from users ITS mobile is somewhat faster than the SAP console.
Display SAPGui vs. SAPConsole and different screen sizes
SAP Data Collection Solutions – SAP Console, WebSAPConsole and ITS Mobile
SAP offers multiple options for connecting RF-linked mobile terminals to the SAP mainframe: SAP Console, WebSAPConsole, and ITS Mobile are the most common methods in use today. Each of these solutions is designed and assumes an always-on RF link back to SAP R/3. SAP Console translates SAPGUI pages into text-only pages for character-based terminals. WebSAPConsole and ITS Mobile provide a similar interface but maintain the SAPGUI look for mobile terminals running Windows CE or other graphics-capable operating systems.
SAPConsole includes an administrative function (SAPConsole Administrator) to create and manage connection profiles that link the mobile terminals to an SAP module. The SAPConsole server translates SAPGUI screens to suitable text-only screens for character-based mobile terminals and receives input from the terminals for transmission to the SAP module. Once the connection has been established, the mobile terminal can provide the same functionality as a desktop terminal running the SAP WM module software.
SAPConsole is a front-end product that translates GUI screens into text screens to display on a character-based device. The SAPConsole itself does not include any business logic. It is intended as a solution for customers who wish to use character-based RF scanning devices and do not want to have specific software on each device.
Ability to use Text boxes, Radio buttons, Check boxes, and Push buttons.
Can handle multiple sessions.
Function keys can be re-mapped to user requirements.
Bell signals and error messages are supported.
Good bar coding features.
Smart blank line suppressions.
Good translation facilities.
Multiple language support.
Easily customizable screen size and layouts.
Auto tabbing to specific fields for input.
SAP Console Approach Limitations
If the SAP system is not available, neither is SAP Console (i.e., the Data Collection System). There is no inherent support for “store and forward” capability.
No support for automated fail-over. If the SAP Console machine becomes unavailable, establishing a client connection to another SAP Console machine is a manual process.
Standard transactions are currently limited to LES functionality. There are no IM, MM, SD, PP transactions – although you can certainly add them yourself.
No known ability to automatically switch between R/3 application servers (in case of failure, etc.)
For a GUI screen to appear on a 16 row x 20 column character screen, the GUI screens must be developed with that in mind, similar to reformatting legacy screens to fit RF terminals. You cannot translate a full GUI screen onto a 16 x 20 text screen.
Native support for printing bar codes is still somewhat primitive.
Currently, SAP Console only runs on a Windows platform. There is no support at this time for Linux or Unix. Note: The SAP database and servers may be on a non-Windows platform. By default, SAP Console supports two screen sizes: 16 x 20 and 8 x 40. Other screen sizes can be
Accommodated, although it requires using a screen exit for every Mobile Data Entry transaction to accomplish this task. If you create your own transactions, you only need to keep in mind what will fit on your custom screen size.
WebSAPConsole is essentially the same as with SAP Console except that server is a web server, running Microsoft IIS or SAP’s own Web Application Server (WAS). The same capabilities and procedures are used for terminal ID and communication between the mobile terminal, the WebSAPConsole server and the SAP WM module. The significant difference, in terms of the user experience, is that WebSAPConsole maintains the graphical look of standard SAPGUI screens.
SAP webconsole or web enabled console is character based gui as well as browser based technology that used on RF or mobile terminal to access SAP application. SAP webconsole is release 6.40 is part of SAP R/3 application in CD. It has two components to support text and web which is nothing but telnet and web connection. Communication from SAP webconsole require third party application (telnet serve and web server) to run on RF terminal. Configuration of telnet is same as explained in section
Advantages in using web-console
Support multiple configurations of profiles in same box.
Compatible with SAP GUI and option to auto log on.
Easy use of ABAP programming to support RF (text / browser).
It requires window server with both bit 32 and 64.
Does not support some advance GUI features.
ITS Mobile similar to WebSAPConsole, ITS Mobile produces web-based screens for display on graphical mobile terminals. Unlike WebSAPConsole, however, the translation of SAPGUI screens is completed at development time, rather than runtime. As the ITS engine is embedded in the SAP Net weaver Application server, there is no need for a separate web server, making ITS Mobile a truly direct connect solution for an SAP environment. The development methodology of transactions in SAP for ITS Mobile is identical to SAPConsole.
ITS mobile is Internet Transaction Server for Mobile devices that access SAP system using mobile browser. ITS Mobile is similar to SAP webconsole but it has more features and advantages over SAP webconsole. Also SAP has recommended to use ITS mobile solution than SAPwebconsole due to their limited support on maintenances of SAP Webconsole. ITS mobile has ITS platform that uses for separate SAP product. However ITS mobile are included in SAP Netweaver Basis 6.4 Release. ITS Mobile now can be used for many application including ITS, Web dynpro, webserver pages and portal etc.
ITS mobile is browser based technology that used for any mobile device that support mobile application including barcode scanner (RF device) for capturing data, RFID and mobile device that operates using voice controlled application.
SAP ITS mobile used in:
SAP ECC (Warehouse management, IM management (custom) and Yard Management, Task and Logistics
Executions etc in built standard SAP tcodes).
SAP EWM(Extended Warehouse Management).
SAP AII (Auto ID – RFID).
Non-sap application that supports browsers based devices.
It can be also used for application that built to support web browser signature capture, approval, mobile printer, GPS device, camera etc as long as support browser.
ITS is ABAP applications on mobile devices that has following advantages:
The entire application can be developed using ABAP workbench.
SAP GUI can be used for Windows to perform ABAP debugging and system landscape is not complex.
The templates and generated HTML can be custom as per business requirement.
Internet Transaction server can be configured as a part of SAP Netweaver or option is available to have standalone ITS. There are few advantages on SAP integrated ITS (Netweaver) over stand alone.
SAP’s ERP Warehouse Management functionality offers a number of “pre-configured” RF transactions that are accessible by SAPConsole, WebSAPConsole and ITS Mobile. These transactions include the most common transactions and simplify the set-up and configuration of mobile terminals. Since each application is different and pre-configured modules cannot be provided to cover every contingency, each option supports transaction development using SAP’s standard Advance Business Application Programming (ABAP) and SAP Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Installation of ITS (Internet Transaction Server)
Two options are available to install Internet Transaction Server and both have advantage and disadvantage in terms of architecture, maintenance and limitations.
b) Integrated ITS
Standalone ITS :
SAP ITS 6.20 Standalone is supported by single or more instances with several SAP systems. SAP ITS 6.20 is supported by SAP Netweaver 2004. ITS 6.20 standalone can not be used with SAP Netweaver 7.0 and higher as ITS service based on that flow logic and WebRFC is no longer supported in Netweaver 7.0. Standalone ITS can be installed outside of SAP on window. It has two major component Agate that passes connection to SAP system and WGate which acts as web server extension for browser. Internet Application Components (IAC) is an application that consists of ITS services that includes html templates of SAP bapi/tcode or function call), Webgui (GUI for html package) and ITS_Adm (Administration Package of instances) in standalone ITS.
Integrated ITS :
Release of 6.40 and higher, SAP ITS is part of SAP Kernel (as Internet Communication Framework) that integrates into SAP webserver GUI for HTML and the Internet Application Component. No need to install or use separate Internet Transaction Server. Web browser directly communicates to SAP system via web application server using ITS. Separate Admin tool is not require as Integreted ITS can be managed on few transaction such as RZ10/RZ11 Parameter Definition, SICF ITS Configuration, ST11 Trace and SITSMON check status.
RF Device Support
Mobile data entry in the warehouse today involves the use of wireless radio frequency (RF) terminals or devices carried by the warehouse staff to record data. The data is usually in a bar code form, either as bar code printed in Transfer orders or bar codes that identify products, storage bins or other objects.
Mobile Data Entry currently supports two device types:
GUI devices (with graphical user interface) that run on Windows 3.x/95/98
Character devices (character-based) under terminal emulation mode
These devices are connected to the SAP System just like any other client-dependent PC. The screens can be touch screens, using predefined pushbuttons, or they can operate using a keyboard. If you are using touch screens, you simply “touch” the appropriate positions on the touch screen instead of clicking with the mouse on a pushbutton.
System fonts and size should correspond to the guidelines provided in order to achieve optimal utilization of the screen size.
These devices are linked to the system through an SAP standard interface called the SAPConsole. The SAPConsole operates on a Windows NT/Windows 2000 platform and interacts with the RF terminals connected to it. This concept is currently supported by the leading providers of RF terminals.
The following two industry standards for screen sizes are supported:
Devices for forklifts: 8 lines by 40 characters each
Portable handheld devices: 16 lines by 20 characters each
Bar code support in SAP:
SAP reads bar codes for identification and verification. The items that can be identified include Storage bin, Material, Storage unit, Handling unit, Quantity, Delivery, Staging area, Shipment, Pick wave. It is possible to scan items for verification purposes and these fields includes Storage unit, Storage bin, Material, Quantity.. SAP may increase few more fields in future.
What’s the difference between passive and active tags?
Active RFID systems use self-powered RFID tags that continuously broadcast their own signal. Active RFID tags are commonly used as “beacons” to accurately track the real-time location of assets or in high speed environments such as tolling. Active tags provide a much longer read range than passive tags, but they are also much more expensive.
Passive RFID systems use tags that are powered by the electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID reader. Passive RFID tags have applications including access control, tool tracking, race timing, supply chain management, smart labels, and more. The lower price point per tag make employing passive RFID systems economical for many industries.
Active RFID tags possess their own power source and transmitter enabling the tag to broadcast its signal. Performance capabilities include longer read ranges and greater memory capacities when compared to passive RFID tags; however, in order to achieve a significant read range and larger memory, these performance capabilities generate a greater demand for power. Typically, active RFID tags are powered by a long life battery that will last a few years, but will eventually require replacing.
Essentially, two different types of active RFID tags are available on today’s MARKET – Transponders and Beacons. An active RFID transponder only communicates when in the immediate presence of a reader’s interrogating signal, thus conserving battery life when the tag is out of range of the reader. Active RFID transponders are commonly used in secure access control and in toll booth payment systems.
Active RFID tags purposed as beacons will periodically transmit their identifying information at user defined intervals and RFID reader antennas will read and determine the tag’s location with the help of back-end software. This type of active RFID tag is frequently used in real-time location systems (RTLS) commonly found in outdoor shipping yards and throughout supply chains. Some active RFID tags have a read range capable of reaching 100 meters in ideal outdoor environments.
Tasked with weathering harsh environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures and moisture, some active RFID tags may be encased in a rugged shell. Because of the size of the enclosed battery, circuitry, and bulk of a durable exterior, active RFID tags are usually much larger than passive tags. Also, some active tags may have on-board sensors that track environmental parameters.
All these additional features translate to increased costs for the customer, but the return on INVESTMENT of a system may far outweigh the initial costs. The prices of active RFID tags range anywhere from $20+ to $100+ depending on the tag’s ability to withstand harsh conditions and other key functional features of the tag. Given the required INVESTMENT of an active RFID system, active tags are usually reserved for tracking high worth assets or for items where accurate location tracking is necessary to the success of the system.
Unlike active tags, passive RFID tags have no internal power source. A passive RFID transponder consists only of a microchip and an antenna; the two together are commonly referred to as an RFID inlay. As the name implies, passive tags wait for an interrogating signal from an RFID reader. Once the tag is within range of the interrogation zone, the RFID tag’s antenna draws energy from the electromagnetic waves.
Passive RFID tag
A roll of Passive RFID inlays
Once the tag’s microchip, or integrated circuit, becomes powered, it transmits a signal. The change in the electromagnetic wave is detected by the reader’s antenna which interprets the information. For the process to work properly, the antennas in both the tag and reader must be at least within several meters of each other; however, the read range depends on the transmit frequency, equipment settings, and other environmental factors.
Passive RFID tags generally operate at three distinct frequencies:
Low Frequency (LF) 125 -134 kHz
High Frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) 856 MHz to 960 MHz
As frequency increases, the radio wave’s ability to penetrate liquids and metals decreases, and, generally, read range increases as frequency increases. Technology has improved in recent years, and specialized UHF RFID tags can operate around water and on-metal surfaces with minimal interference. Some applications, such as NFC payment systems, have adopted short read ranges as a unique feature. Near field communication (NFC) is a specialized subset of HF RFID and considers short read range a benefit and is a hallmark capability of the NFC protocol.
Passive and Active RFID Tag
Size comparison between passive and active RFID tags
Since passive RFID tags do not have their own power source, they typically have lower memory capacities and significantly shorter read ranges than their active counterparts; however, passive tags are drastically cheaper with prices ranging from pennies up to several dollars. Passive RFID tags are much smaller than active tags, and depending upon the application, passive tags may be as thin as a few sheets of paper.
As the cost of passive RFID tags continues to decrease, a greater number of industries are adopting the technology, and many companies are replacing standard barcodes with RFID labels. Passive tags are found in asset tracking, tool tracking, event monitoring, access control, race timing, and variety of other applications.
While both active and passive RFID technologies use radio frequencies to communicate information, each is very different, and likewise, possess different qualities well suited for varying applications.
Active RFID tags have a transmitter and their own power source (typically a battery). The power source is used to run the microchip’s circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader(the way a cell phone transmits signals to a base station). Passive tags have no battery. Instead, they draw power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current in the tag’s antenna. Semi-passive tags use a battery to run the chip’s circuitry, but communicate by drawing power from the reader. Active and semi-passive tags are useful for tracking high-value goods that need to be scanned over long ranges, such as railway cars on a track, but they cost more than passive tags, which means they can’t be used on low-cost items.
How much information can an RFID tag store?
It depends on the vendor, the application and type of tag, but typically a tag carries nomore than 2 kilobytes (KB) of data—enough to store some basic information about the item it is on. Simple “license plate” tags contain only a 96-bit or 128-bit serial number. The simple tags are cheaper to manufacture and are more useful for applications where the tag will be disposed of with the product packaging. The aerospace industry wants to store parts histories on high memory tag, which has led to the introduction of passive UHF tags that store 4KB or 8KB of data.
What’s the difference between read-only and read-write RFID tags?
Microchips in RFID tags can be read-write, read-only or “write once, read many” (WORM). With read-write chips, you can add information to the tag or write over existing information when the tag is within range of a reader. Read-write tags usually have a serial number that can’t be written over. Additional blocks of data can be used to store additional information about the items the tag is attached to (these can usually be locked to prevent overwriting of data). Read-only microchips have information stored on them during the manufacturing process. The information on such chips can never be changed. WORM tags can have a serial number written to them once, and that information cannot be overwritten later.
What is the read range for a typical RFID tag?
There really is no such thing as a “typical” RFID tag, and the read range depends on whether the tag is active or passive. Active tags broadcast a signal, so they have a much longer read range—300 feet or more—than passive tags. The read range of passive tags depends on many factors: the frequency of operation, the power of the reader, interference from other RF devices and so on. In general, low-frequency and high-frequency tags tags are read from within three feet (1 meter) and UHF tags are read from 10 to 20 feet. Readers with phased array antennas can increase the read range of passive tags to 60 feet or more.
What is tag collision?
Tag collision occurs when more than one transponder reflects back a signal at the same time, confusing the reader. Different air interface protocol standards (and different proprietary systems) use different techniques for having the tags respond to the reader one at a time. These involve using algorithms to “singulate” the tags. Since each tag can be read in milliseconds, it appears that all the tags are being re
What is energy harvesting?
Most passive RFID tags simply reflect back waves from the reader. Energy harvesting is a technique in which energy from the reader is gathered by the tag, stored briefly and transmitted back to the reader.
What is a chipless RFID tag?
“Chipless RFID” is a generic term for systems that use RF energy to communicate data but don’t store a serial number in a silicon microchip in the transponder. Some chipless tags use plastic or conductive polymers instead of silicon-based microchips. Other chipless tags use materials that reflect back a portion of the radio waves beamed at them. A computer takes a snapshot of the waves beamed back and uses it like a fingerprint to identify the object with the tag. Companies are experimenting with embedding RF reflecting fibers in paper to prevent unauthorized photocopying of certain documents. There are inks that reflect back radio waves at certain frequencies, enabling farmers, for example, to tattoo a chipless RFID transponder on an animal for identification purposes.
I’ve heard that RFID doesn’t work around metal and water. Does that mean I can’t use it to track cans or liquid products?
Low- and high-frequency tags work better on products with water and metal. In fact, there are applications in which low-frequency RFID tags are embedded in metal auto parts to track them. Radio waves bounce off metal and are absorbed by water at ultrahigh frequencies. That makes tracking metal products, or those with high water content, with passive UHF tags challenging. However, in recent years, companies have developed special UHF tags designed to overcome these challenges. There are also ways to tag products with metal or water content to ensure reliable read rates.
At present our client is using scanners for goods movement in the warehouse in Non SAP environment . Now they want to go for SAP and WM module to be implemented with RF solution. I am new to WM RF solution implementation. Could somebody please advice me the approach to implement RF solution ?
I know how to define menu management and queue management. Do we need to know about interface part of RF network to SAP. Who are the vendors in the MARKET at present to give the RF solution interfaced with SAP ?
There’re two roles involved in implementing RF solution. One of the role is about functional and another role is to develop the code. Barcode printing is development in ABAP. Barcode printing can be done using any of the barcode printers(ex. Zebra printers, there are other printers as well, you can search this in any search engine).
Scanner device can be Mobile Computer with the scan engine(Eg. Symbol, Intermec etc.)
There are standard SAP RF functions available. You can use them. Also you can design custom RF transactions.
In order to develop custom RF transactions, you need to identify the custom RF transactions, write the functional specifications. The developer role is to write code based on the functional specification.
All of our RF transaction that we use are custom built. The programs are just like any other dynpro application. You must make sure that the ui elements are placed in the screen area that will fit the screen of your device, probably 16 lines by 20 characters. This means that you should put your ui element in the first 20 space in the first 16 lines of the screen. You will also want to copy the gui status from the LM01 transaction
Text based scanning units.
1) A telnet server. We use Georgia Soft Works Telnet Server
2) SAPgui 6.40 – SAPconsole component. You can load this directly from the SAPgui installation.
Web based scanning units.
2) SAPgui 6.40 – SAPconsole component. You can load this directly from the SAPgui installation.
The sapconsole administrator must be configured.
The scanners must be configured to point to the IP of your telnet server or point the browser to that host.
IMG configuration must be done in order to fire the correct programs by user id.
RF Screen Enhancement
Radio Frequency is a technology used to send data through the air. There is a remote wireless scanner (RF gun or any other handheld device) which accepts the data and transfers it to the nearest Access Point. This access point is a network device which allows a connection to some server.
The user does transactions on a screen on the remote wireless scanner which directly translates to a screen in R/3. Since RF transactions are mostly carried out on an RF gun (shown below), the screen needs to be much smaller in size (usually 20X16) to fit the gun screen.
RF Monitor (LRF1) – Active
RF Monitor will sow the list of Open TO’s assigned Queues, created time and created by.
RF Monitor(LRF2)_ Passive
The RF monitor is a tool for central, cross-queuemonitoring and coordination of transfer order (TO) processing. Each RF user is assigned to a queue in Customizing for Mobile Data Entry. This assignment can be viewed and changed using the RF monitor. The user’s view at the RF terminal is limited to the transfer orders of its current queue. The RF monitor operates as a central coordination point, ensuring that TO processing is run as efficiently as possible.
Using the RF monitor, an authorized RF user can do the following:
Monitor queues, including the number of assigned TOs, number of users and ratio of workload to users
Assign TOs and users to other queues
Change the processing priorities of TOs
RF transactions are special transactions. The specialties being the following:
The screen sizes are considerably smaller.
The screen logic is simple and user-friendly.
RF does not provide support for some of the advanced SAP GUI features such as tab strips, Active X controls, etc.
Of course there are many more features, but this should suffice for a start.
SAP’s Radio Frequency Solution
The solution allows one to directly run SAP transactions on Radio Frequency (RF) equipment like handheld RF gun, or even forklift devices. SAP does not use any further middleware to connect the devices to R/3. Because the screen sizes vary for the different RF devices, SAP has developed special transactions with very easy-to-use-and-enhance logic.
Since no middleware is used, the SAP’s RF solution is economical. Also, it reduces the effort required considerably. Since the entire Business Logic lies inside the ABAP workbench, users with a little knowledge of ABAP can easily use and enhance the existing functions.
SAP’s Radio Frequency Solution helps enormously in Warehouse Automation. You can actually carry-out SAP transactions on the RF device, while moving around in the warehouse, with much ease.
User Exits in RF
User exits offer you the option of enhancing existing functions according to your personal requirements.
If the customer wants to develop screens different in size and/or content from the supported standard screen sizes, he can use the user exit. The sub-screens allow the user to expand or modify the content dynamically at runtime. The user exits, which are part of the enhancement concept, use the sub-screen technique.
If the appropriate include file is defined within the customer name space, the system redirects the screen call at runtime. Instead of the build-in screen, the customer obtains a dummy screen that he can design in any way he wishes.
Four different screen types exist in the RF environment:
Source and Destination Screens: Any transfer order is processed in two steps: the material is taken from the source storage bin and placed in the destination storage bin. According to the specific transfer order details, the system displays the correct source screen. Afterwards the system displays the destination screen according to the user input and the transfer order characteristics.
Entry Screen: Usually a transaction starts with an initial screen that offers a selection criterion by which the respective document (delivery, transfer order, and so on) can be identified, for example, putaway by storage unit.
Message screen: Since the RF devices use small screens, the message should be masked to comply with the size limitation. Any system message is modified to correspond to the specific user’s screen.
User Exit Screens
The RF solution supports the two screen formats (8×40/16×20) that are offered by most manufacturers of RF devices. The user exit function enables you to display other fields, according to your particular requirements, and also to implement other screen formats. You can add fields that are available through standard transactions to the existing screens. Currently, these fields can only be used for display purposes. Also, you can eliminate fields, which are part of the RF solution, from the display.
_Put away system-guided: LM04 (Report: RLMOB005)
_ Picking system-guided: LM07 (RLMOB008)
_ Pick and Pack system-guided: LM45 (RLMOB045)
_ Posting change: LM11 (RLMOB010)
_ Interleaving system-guided: LM57 (RLMOB005, RLMOB008)
_ Interleaving by storage unit: LM56 (RLMOB001, RLMOB008)
To change the screen layout on runtime, use the following screen layout modules:
Screen Selection in RF
The screens in the radio frequency transactions are divided into two main groups: Source information screens and destination information screens. In each group, the screens are chosen dynamically, according to transfer order properties, such as activity and storage unit management. For example, if the transfer order does not contain a storage unit number because the material will be put away into a non-storage unit-managed storage type, source information screen number 212 appears. If the material will be put away into a storage unit-managed storage type, screen number 202 appears as the source information screen and 302 as the destination information screen. Special screens exist for the confirmation of transfer orders with bulk storage types, because the actual storage unit number must be scanned. Screen numbers for the different activities and properties
Verification with User Exit
Mobile Data Entry supports the following four types of verification:
Storage unit number
To be able to verify other fields, the system also provides a general verification entry. You can use this verification to meet individual requirements, such as verification of batches.
Sorting Using the User Exit
Mobile Data Entry supports sorting possibilities for system-guided transfer order processing:
Printing Using the User Exit
Mobile Data Entry supports the printing of different label types, such as shipping and handling unit labels. You can use the print pushbuttons in the respective transaction by creating your own user exit function module, which is called from the LE_MOB_PRINT function module.
If you want to develop a custom put away transaction based on client Requirement. This scenario required a custom transaction for put away in a warehouse. The customer had provided logic based on which goods had to be moved from one bin to the other in a warehouse. Now, when you navigate to the Put away screen through transaction LM00, there are five pushbuttons for various options. It was here that a new pushbutton for the Custom put away was required.
Solution we need to develop
Depending on the logic provided by customer, a custom putaway transaction with various screens was developed. One thing to be taken special care of is to design the screens keeping in mind the handheld device screen. RF screens are usually close to 20X16.
Due to the size limitations on an RF screen, we try to limit the function keys to as few as possible.The Client wanted custom functionality on F1 and F4 functions which are generally reserved for Help and value request. Here is how we assign F1 and F4 to the function codes developed by us: In the PF status screen, navigate to Utilities->F Key Consistency. This opens a screens with all the possible Fn keys listed including F1 and F4 which otherwise are reserved. We can easily assign the custom Function Codes against the F1 and F4 Keys!
Once the transaction has been developed, there lies one last step. How do we display our transaction in the standard RF menu? There are two SAP tables in which are used to maintain the RF transactions’ information.
The tables are:
T313A- Dynamic Menu Management
T313B- Dynamic Menu Management- Text table
The standard SAP RF transactions use the same screen in different transactions. The menu is dynamically picked and displayed based on these two tables depending on the user input. An entry was created in both these tables so that the Standard put away transaction shows the new “Custom Put away” screen
The dynamic menu MAIN displays the entire RF menu from where you can branch to the different submenus.
The menu PICK01 displays only the picking related activities and the operator cannot access different menus. He can only branch within the picking menu.
Customizing Table V_T3130A
T3130A takes the Warehouse Number, Main Menu, Sequence at which we want our custom transaction to appear in the menu, and the name of the transaction developed by us.
This table contains the dynamic RF menu, which can be grouped by activities whereupon the menu sequence for each activity is defined. Each menu step is described by a long text (for wide screens) and a short text (for narrow screens). The menu can be split into sub-menus or lead directly to the transaction.
the menu sequence for each activity is defined. Each menu step is described by a long text (for wide screens) and a short text (for narrow screens). The menu can be split into sub-menus or lead directly to the transaction.
T3130B takes the Text and the Short text which should appear in the menu against our custom put away transaction.
This table contains the text for the menus in the different languages.
Additional Fields in Mobile Computing: RLMOB
This structure contains the pushbuttons, which are displayed and used on the screen itself.
Example for pushbutton data element declaration:
These are data dictionary declarations for the first four pushbuttons, similar declaration are used for additional pushbuttons F5, F6 etc.
Once all this is place, Requirement was developed
Either directly run your transaction or navigate to it through LM00.
Configuration of Mobile data entry
WM Menu Management
RF solution involves few configurations steps under Mobile data entry in Logistics execution. These configurations are pre-requisite to use RF solution in Inventory Managed or full warehouse managed storage location. You have scenario where implemented Inventory managed storage location and there is no need to implement warehouse management but would like to use RF solution at inventory managed storage location.
RF solution at IM location can be implemented where standard SAP mobile transactions (LM**) cannot be used and you have to design and develop custom program to support IM level solution. In order to use RF solution at IM level, configure warehouse number, menu management to assign custom RF tcode and assignment of user id to warehouse number (T-code LRFMD). Refer below configuration steps). Standard SAP (LE-MOB) package has LM** series transaction that support following WM process:
Goods receipts and issues
Loading and unloading
Analyze all LM* series transactions that satisfy business requirement in above processes. Use T-code SE93 Enter LM* and press F4 drop down. List all LM series transaction that require to use as per business scenario and assign in menu management.
Most of standard SAP LM series T-code does not satisfy business requirement. Most of clients prefer to build custom programs to automate warehousing process using bar code scanning. Analyze need and scope of custom development in RF solution to design custom programs. Consider following input while designing and developing custom ABAP programs.
a) Screen size (rows and column) should be same configured in menu/queue or LRFMD.
b) Bar code type and length and size of barcode and printer (drivers) should support barcode.
c) Use push button keys in program as per SAP standard like F1 to F9, scroll up, down, arrows etc (Refer any LM** T-code program).
d) Printer device name “locl’ does not support to print from RF device. Either use default printer name from user parameter or default printer name from user id or any other logic to read printer (OMLV) as per business need.
Configure menu management : IMG: Logistics Execution –> Mobile Data Entry –> Define Menu Management. Make entry as per your warehouse RF requirement. Assign standard or custom t-code to relevant entry. If you have only configured IM level solution, then assigned custom T-code accordingly.
Logistics Execution–>Mobile Data Entry–>Define Screen Management
As see above there are 2 actual screens for ‘Select by Delivery’. Screen no 2104 and Screen no 0104. Screen 2104 is of size 16X20 and Screen 0104 is of size 8X40. They both are linked together by the common logical screen 0104.
Both the logical screen as well as the actual screen should physically exist for the particular module pool program. Incase of custom RF developments we can keep screen numbers 8XXX for logical screen and screen number 9XXX for actual screens. Within the size formats the screen number can be odd or even.
Configure RF Queue management: IMG: Logistics Execution –> Mobile Data Entry –> RF Queue Management –> Assign processor to queue (T-CODE : LRFMD) Configure queues in warehouse as per business need. Most of client may not require to configure Queue. Assign only SAP user id to warehouse number to access RF (Mobile data entry). Make new entryby adding warehouse number, screen size, T-code (MAIN as per menu) and activate status. If one user ID is allowed to access multiple warehouses then make multiple entries by de-activating status field and save entries. Use LM77 transaction to change warehouse number while accessing RF menu. Note: Select screen size as per release of SAP and suites to RF device.
Assign area and activities to queues,
SAP menu key transaction code LRFMD
Click the display/change icon
Click the position icon
Enter the appropriate warehouse
Click green check or enter
User profile has been added for the specified warehouse. You may back out of the transaction.
***Note: each user can be set up in multiple warehouses but may only have an active status in one warehouse at a time.
We can see the RF Screens below. Hope consultants will get familiar with the SAP RF Screens.
GR Against PO
Here we are choosing Option I means Purchasing -GR and in second screen we are choosing GR PO and then in third screen system is looking for PO (Scan PO) .. so we are giving PO number 4500087890.
Goods Receipt against Production order with Palletizer
Production order 54678789
Batch Number AB31032014
Here example on LM02 Screen.
A Transfer order for putaway has been created in the background to support the putaway process. To put the stock away use transaction LM02.
Confirming Partial Quantity in RF Transaction LM61
Enter delivery and click next
Click F6 to confirm the TO
Enter the source HU and Qty to be confirmed.
Then save F1
Click Next F4
Destination HU is automatically picked as we did configuration.
Destination Storage is 914.
Click F1 to save which confirms the issue to production.
Here is the sample for Z-customized Screen in RF. my motive is to tell thepossibilty for Z-customization in RF. we can combine 2 or more steps or action in single RF step. for example Outbound Delivery Picking and TO creation, TO creation and confirmation of TO and PGI. like wise we can do any kind of Process change and requirement expected by client.
Simple step to do configuration if you are new to RF. SAP has given all the steps and just we need to copy all entries if you are practicing in IDES.
IMG > Logistics Execution > Mobile Data Entry > Define Menu Management
Copy all the entries of SAP Standard warehouse (001) entries to your warehouse and save the entries.
Need to expand your list and more details to really get a comprehensive answer. However, let’s just say that on the SAP side, there’s the configuration and implementation of mobile or fixed reading devices ( RF Scanners), connecting them through middleware to the SAP Auto ID infrastructure, and then integrating it into the backend of your SAP solution using XI. Complimentary to that is the use of SAP Console ( for WM) and the use of Mobile applications like MAM or custom mobile apps to leverage your SAP infrastructure ( Using SAP Mobile Infrastructure). SAP Console and Web SAP Console for mobile applications are two different applications. There is no direct connect from RF to SAP Console, but lots of development or integrate opportunities exist.
An ITSmobile RF Solution consists of 6 components.
SAP Net Weaver Application Server
ICM (Internet Communication Manager)
ICF (Internet Communication Framework)
Integrated ITS (Internet Transaction Server)
ITSmobile RF Transactions
Client device and browser
The ICM is the run-time application within the SAP NetWeaver Application Server that is responsible for managing access to the SAP system from web-based clients.
The ICF receives and processes HTTP/HTTPS calls (requests) from a client (e.g. a web browser). The ICF forwards the request to the relevant SAP application, where one or more ABAP programs are run, in order to compile the requested data. The data is sent back to the client through the ICF and can be displayed there, in the browser.
The Integrated ITS is the original method of communicating with an SAP environment from a web browser, and is now one of several methods of web-based communication available (along with BSP, Web Dynpro, etc.).
An ITSmobile RF transaction is a collection of development objects (ABAP programs, HTML templates, etc.) that comprise the transaction.
The client device and browser are important since different devices and browsers can support varying functionality. It is unwise to assume an ITSmobile RF transaction (or any web transaction) will run perfectly on all devices and browsers or if it works on one device it will work on a different device.
Wavelink industrial browser.- Very popularly used in RF Applications
Quick Scan functionality
Easy to lock down
Within the SAP system the following things are required
An ABAP application consisting of Dynpros that have the right size for the device you want to use and using only screen elements supported by ITSmobile
An “Internet Service” for that application
A set of ITSmobile templates for your Dynpros.
We can administrate the integrated ITS completely with the following SAP transactions
SITSPMON (Status of the integrated ITS) LRF1 RF Monitor, Active
LRF2 RF Monitor, Passive, LRFMD
SICF (Configuration of the ITS‐ICF‐services)
RZ10 / RZ11 (Definition of profile parameters)
ST11 (Error Log Files)
SM21 (System Log) .
Below like error screen when you are using ITs Mobile.
One More Important thing How IM is connected to RF Device without an WM. is that possilbe ?
Suppose if your client like to use existing SAP MM-IM module to operate, track Inventories- GR, GI, Transfer Posting..etc..
Answer is – yes. Possible. but for this we need to create only Warehouse number but not WM configuration steps. because if you check RF user management system will ask for WM number. so it is dummy one. Finally RF will speak to SAP MM-IM.
So the setup will differ based on specific client needs and requirements. Here data or information given is more generic. Hope it will be useful for the consultants to get involve into RF solutions while working in their Projects. One important thing here involvement of ABAP/Technical guys is more important due to availability of selection parameters in RF…Without them we cannot satisfy client requirement. Lot of user exits available especially for RF. This document is very basic or fundamental to RF setup in Warehouse. Otherwise document covers laymen’s information… but as techie need to learn more info on RF/RFID/ Barcode/SAP CONSOLE/ITS MOBILE/WEB CONSOLE.
Many Companies involved in Manufacturing RF Products and always this filed in hot cake because it introduced automation and reduces human entry errors during high stressful peak time in Warehouse.
*****Current Trend in RF Tech:- using PC Anywhere S/w introduced by Symantec user can confirms WM TO or any other activity using Windows Mobile. Not required to sit before system.
*****I hope the RF/RFID Details shared in this Blog useful to Consultants. Please give your valuable review and Reco
We can further continue with SAP WM Process in my next blog.
For those who like to read SAP WM.. Please use below link..