Smart automation processes require the unique identification of products, workpieces, carriers, and tools. Wireless RFID Auto-ID communication technology is considered best, as it allows those processes to be carried out automatically. It is increasingly being used in modern production environments to autonomously control logistics or production processes, and to make detection, tracking, or quality assessment in procurement, production, or distribution processes simpler, faster, and cheaper. Although identification is extremely important when it comes to automation, monitoring the condition of objects can also play a significant role.
Researchers at Fraunhofer IPMS have combined both functionalities to acquire temperature, humidity, and other data, creating wireless sensor systems without batteries. „Thanks to a flexible interface concept, we are able to integrate analog and digital sensors. This means that any sensor can be equipped according to the requirements of each customer.“ explains Dr. Frank Deicke, Head of the Fraunhofer IPMS Development Team. "In addition, we offer a software solution, the so-called ROAD server, as middleware. The OPC-UA based ROAD server enables manufacturer-independent, standard-compliant communication for industrial automation. This allows readers and identification- or sensor-transponders produced by different manufacturers and operating across the various frequency ranges (LF, HF, UHF and NFC) to be uniformly addressed." RFID continues to make an even greater contribution to the automation of logistical processes. According to Dr. Deicke, adding condition monitoring to RFID can extend capabilities of such systems. “Automatic monitoring of packaging to see if it is intact, or the monitoring of temperatures of goods such as pharmaceuticals or food are just two examples for that. RFID sensors are maintenance free, have a virtually unlimited service life, and can be installed in hard-to-reach or inaccessible places.”
Learn more at Automate 2019 in Chicago
Fraunhofer IPMS will exhibit how the addition of wireless and battery-less sensors can further enrich Auto-ID processes. German developers will present a kit equipped with various sensors and the OPC-UA based middleware at the 2019 Automate event being held from 8-11 April at McCormick Place in Chicago. Visitors can view the Fraunhofer exhibiton at Booth 9140.