There are many application scenarios and convincing arguments for the use of RFID sensors in industrial environments. Passive RFID sensors measure and transmit all kinds of physical quantities with no contact whatsoever and without their own power supply. Maintenance-free with a virtually unlimited service life, RFID sensors can also be installed inaccessible areas. Unfortunately, commercially-available RFID tags and readers rarely immediately fit in cases of special applications. RFID sensor system requirements can vary greatly, depending on antenna shape, sensor positioning, environmental conditions, and application scenarios as well as existing IT infrastructure.
In practice, it is usually necessary to adapt RFID sensor nodes to specific needs, application scenarios and environmental parameters. Adaptations may relate to the sensors, the electronic circuit, or the antenna geometry. In addition, RFID components must also be integrated into the existing or to-be-built process environments. All this leads to cost and risk for plant operators and may sometimes prevent otherwise useful investments. In cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Dresden, Fraunhofer IPMS provides an attractive alternative with the so-called Proof of Concepts (POCs) and the use of the HTW Industry 4.0 “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Testbed” model factory.
“Fraunhofer IPMS doesn't just cover the comprehensive expertise and value added chain, from ASIC and antenna design, over sensor tag development, and up to sensor, system and cloud integration in complex industrial applications for the implementation of complete, customer-specific solutions.” says Dr. Andreas Weder, Head of the Fraunhofer IPMS Development Team. “We also provide our customers the opportunity to test the suitability of RFID technology in advance within a proofs of concepts framework in a production-related research and evaluation infrastructure. We use our own test laboratories as well as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Test Bed at the HTW Dresden.”
In the HTW Dresden IIoT Test Bed, suppliers, equipment manufacturers and systems integrators can replicate realistic and detailed partially-automated production and logistics processes. Using the production-related test environment, production processes required particularly for SMEs are implemented for the realization of an intelligent manufacturing landscape. Modular and flexible insertable stations make it possible to develop one's own modules and demonstrators and carry out Industry 4.0 relevant projects. For this purpose, access to a production logistics line with robot cells and modular stations is available to users. State-of-the-art sensors provide process and consumption data, environmental parameters, and process-related quality information. Fraunhofer IPMS services are completed with quarterly, all-day training.
Developers will present an RFID evaluation kit equipped with various sensors and provide advice on the implementation of RFID sensor systems at the 2018 SPS IPC Drives, Europe's leading trade fair for electrical automation being held from 27 – 29 November in Nuremberg. Visitors can find the Fraunhofer IPMS exhibition at Booth 246 in Hall 7A.