Whether in production to detect machine or product conditions, in environmental engineering or in the mining industry, intelligent wireless sensor networks consisting of numerous sensor nodes and a reliable power supply are prerequisite for the comprehensive and profitable monitoring and remote control of industrial plants. Passive RFID sensors are ideal because they measure and transmit physical quantities of any kind without contact and, since they use the electromagnetic field of a separate reader as a source of energy, don't need an electrical power supply of their own. With a practically unlimited useful life, RFID sensors are maintenance-free and can therefore be placed in hard-to-reach and inaccessible areas.
But, do RFID transponders also work in special applications? Is data then automatically available for further use in corporate networks or Internet applications? To find out, the sensor system, the electronic circuit and the antenna geometry of the RFID sensor nodes must be adapted to the individual needs, application scenarios and environmental parameters of each customer. Furthermore, new RFID components must be successfully integrated into the existing or planned process environments. Fraunhofer IPMS provides its customers feasibility study services as well as advanced development services in the fields of RF simulation, antenna design, RF mixed signal ASIC design, sensor integration, reader implementation, system integration and qualification.
"Our Proof of Concept uses evaluation kits with commercial and proprietary RFID transponder ASICs for different frequency ranges. Thanks to a flexible interface concept for external sensors, we are able to integrate analog and digital sensors. This means that our sensor nodes have a modular design and can be equipped with any sensors, depending on the requirements of our customers.” explains Dr. Frank Deicke, Head of the Fraunhofer IPMS Development Team. "In addition, our evaluation kits contain a software solution, the so-called RFID OPC UA AutoID server (ROAD server), as middleware. The ROAD server appropriately converts the OPC-UA AutoID-Companion specification for RFID components, thereby enabling manufacturer-independent, standard-compliant communication for industrial automation. In this way, any reader, identification- or sensor-transponder produced by different manufacturers and operating across the various frequency ranges (LF, HF, UHF and NFC) can be uniformly addressed."
Based on this uniform basic framework, Fraunhofer IPMS supports the design and implementation of individual software solutions in order to analyze and evaluate large amounts of data generated during long-term measurements. This includes easy-to-use solutions for data acquisition, the development of customer-specific applications for mobile operating systems, the integration of data acquisition and control systems in industrial environments as well as professional cloud applications. Fraunhofer IPMS developers will be presenting various sensor-equipped RFID evaluation kits at the 2017 Sensor and Test Measurement Fair in Nuremberg. Visitors can find the Fraunhofer IPMS exhibition in the special "Networked Measurement Technology for Mobile Applications" forum scheduled from May 30 - June 1, 2017 in Hall 5 at Booth 5-106 / 15. We look forward to welcoming you all there!