RFID technology is increasingly being used in modern production environments to autonomously control logistics or production processes or to perform maintenance-free measurements in hard to reach places or on moving parts and to provide wireless transfer with no internal source of energy. However, users usually face considerable implementation time and costs when integrating new RFID components in existing or yet to be established process environments. Because readers as well as identification and sensor-transponders differ considerably in some cases according to manufacturer, frequency band used, protocol and interface, they can not be readily combined with each other. Fraunhofer IPMS has developed a middleware, the so-called ROAD server, to change this. This is the first middleware of this type to implement the OPC-UA (Unified Architecture Open Platform Communication) AutoID-companion specification, a standard for manufacturer-independent communication in automation technology, which enables universal interoperability of industrial bus systems and protocols.
"Our ROAD server works like an universal adapter," explains Professor Dirk Reichelt, Fraunhofer IPMS Team Leader. "It ensures that any readers and tags for various LF, HF, UHF and NFC frequency ranges are integrated via a standard interface in process systems and are able to communicate with each other. This is especially interesting for users who want to record various parameters such as temperature, humidity, light or pressure with sensor transponders."
Development was especially focused on the convenient incorporation of modern sensor-transponders. Designed for MS Windows platforms, the middleware recognizes the reader and transponder type and autonomously chooses a suitable controller, which allows the user to access the transponder as well as ID, memory and measured values readouts over a standard interface. Therefore, users must no longer deal with the detailed control of readers, tags and sensors at electronic and protocol levels.
Fraunhofer IPMS offers complete, customer-specific solutions and services relevant to RFID middleware and RFID sensors for reader and equipment manufacturers as well as system integrators. Experts from Fraunhofer IPMS will be on-hand in San Jose to provide visitors to the 2016 Sensor Expo and Conference measurement fair the opportunity to see and test the institute's ROAD server at Stand 535 from 22 to 23 June.