Failures and unscheduled maintenance work on safety-critical industrial systems are generally associated with high costs for operators. Failures are often signaled in advance by untypical operating parameters such as rising temperatures, penetrating moisture or pressure loss. A flexible monitoring system developed by Fraunhofer IPMS precisely measures and evaluates these parameters and assesses risk of system failure. This allows maintenance work to be performed in a cost-efficient manner at exactly the time when it is needed.
This solution uses RFID sensor-transponders based on circuits also developed at Fraunhofer IPMS. They connect, for example, sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure or light with passive battery-free RFID interfaces. Dr. Frank Deicke, head of the Fraunhofer IPMS development team, explains, »Using RFID in harsh industrial conditions is advantageous in that neither cables nor batteries are required, because the energy necessary for operation is completely sourced from the electromagnetic field of an external reader. They are 100 percent maintenance- and potential-free, have an almost unlimited lifespan and can be installed in hard-to-access areas or rotating machine parts.«
The development of sensor-transponders is part of comprehensive services offered by Fraunhofer IPMS: From customer-specific consultations on RFID applications, over the development of RFID circuits featuring an integrated sensor-bridge allowing the interfacing to almost all kind of sensors, the hardware setup of sensor-transponders including their customization to specific application scenarios, up to the integration into existing software systems while providing functionalities for data analysis and process control.
Services further include the so-called ROAD-Server RFID middleware. Frank Deicke stresses, »RFID components often differ significantly depending on the manufacturer, frequency band, protocol, interface and sensor, leaving them unable to be combined without larger efforts. Our ROAD-Server makes it possible for arbitrary readers, identification and sensor transponders to be addressed via a uniform OPC-UA interface even if they operate in different frequency ranges (LF, HF, UHF, or NFC) and are made by different manufacturers. This allows them to be flexibly integrated into existing production processes.«
The Dresden-based research institute offers customers evaluation kits so that they may test the benefits of Fraunhofer IPMS RFID sensor technology for a wide variety of application fields.
The institute will present its comprehensive portfolio of services at Electronica, the World's Leading Trade Fair for Electronic Components, Systems and Applications from November 8 - 11, 2016 in Munich (Fraunhofer Community Stand 113 in Hall 4) as well as the SPS IPC Drives Electric Automation – Systems & Components International Exhibition from November 22 - 24, 2016 in Nuremberg (Hall 2 Stand 500). In addition, those taking part in the parallel Wireless Congress are invited to attend presentations held by Dr. Frank Deicke (November 9, Session 3 »Z-Wave« at 14:30, »A Passive RFID-to-I²C Bridge«) and Prof. Dr. Dirk Reichelt (November 10, Tutorial 8, »RFID« at 16:00, »Smart RFID System Integration via OPC UA«).