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Balluff's Cost Reducing “All-in-One Solution” for Identification Tasks in Industrial Production

Artikel | von Balluff | 18. Juni 2015
Speed, data security and transparency are required during the assembly of engines, transmissions and chassis components. Data carriers with large memory and high read / write speed combined with the processor unit ‘BIS V’ ensure shorter cycle times and increased application rates. Speed, data security and transparency are required during the assembly of engines, transmissions and chassis components. Data carriers with large memory and high read / write speed combined with the processor unit ‘BIS V’ ensure shorter cycle times and increased application rates. BILD: Balluff

Hardware costs and expenses for implementing RFID systems can be reduced by using frequency-independent controllers

Hardware costs and implementation expenses are major cost factors for RFID applications. Using the different frequencies HF, LF and UHF in a production environment means the use of various processors for different identification tasks. A controller that can handle all the different frequencies can reduce hardware costs and implementation expenses and this paves the way for traceability. The flow of material can be controlled – starting with the tool identification in production up to the raw material supplies in intralogistics.

By Norbert Popp, Head of Business Unit Identification, Balluff

Different systems, one solution

Norbert PoppNorbert PoppIndustrial enterprises today expect a functioning RFID solution that doesn’t burden them with physics. They want their identification tasks to be solved, regardless of the frequency of the RFID system. The interaction of several RFID frequencies in production plants or machines is pretty common today: a tooling machine operates, connected in a series with other machines. Product tracking during production is mostly based on HF technology, while the machine that needs to identify the tool relies on an LF system. If two RFID frequencies are implemented in one machine, up until now different controllers have been required. Now it is possible to handle both identification tasks with only one RFID processor, allowing two operations to be solved with a single system.

Four antennas connected to one evaluation unit

This is exactly why Balluff developed a new generation of RFID controllers. The controller ‘Industrial RFID BIS Balluff V’ meets the requirements of the evaluation unit market, which allows the simultaneous connection of up to four read / write heads. Both HF and LFread heads can be connected with plug-typeconnectors to the front of this and they are automatically recognised. With one controller „for all“, a company needs only one device for communication and can use the same modular software components. The two tasks ‘tool carrier detection’ and ‘tool identification’ are processed independently so that no additional conversion programming has to be done in the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).

Software tools simplify implementation

Right from the beginning, the strategy of Balluff’s development department was to aim for a plugand- play solution: the implementation of an RFID system should be as simple as possible for the user, even if the implementation costs increase for Balluff. The simpler it is to get the system operational, the more convinced the customer will be. The user can undertake 99 per cent of the parameterisation of HF and LF systems himself. In addition, Balluff supplies a proprietary set-up software tool, which allows the company independent of interfaces to access the read/write heads directly via a service interface.

Without programming the PLC, the mechanical set-up can be done on-site and the technician can check via the PC-based tool on his laptop whether the data transmission has been completed without errors. More complex is the adjustment of UHF antennas. Important parameters must be set during implementation. To make it easier for the companies, Balluff offers a tool which automatically regulates the power adjustment of the antennas via algorithms.

An integrated RFID solution with no breach of system

The ‘BIS V‘ processor has also been designed to connect UHF antennas. With this new development, Balluff is laying the groundwork for the future, aiming to monitor and to control the entire material flow of a company‘s automated logistics continuously with a single RFID system. Many logistical scenarios are possible: for example, an additional UHF system to identify raw parts can be connected to the production line without the need for new devices. The result is a complete solution with no system breaches.

Soft facts are not to be underestimated

Hardware and installation costs can be reduced by half with the use of one processor handling two tasks, such as parts tracking and tool identification in production. With an “all-in-one system”, a company can reduce their stock devices. This saves administration costs and reduces the manpower costs for installation or maintenance. There are also ‘soft facts’, the affiliation that customers have with a manufacturer‘s goods, although these can hardly make up for monetary considerations. However, the employees‘ acceptance of a new system is not to be underestimated: if an additional UHF system is put into operation, which can be connected to a device that is familiar to the employees, the first hurdle is overcome.

The intelligent combination of RFID and Sensor

In the future, it will be increasingly important to bring additional intelligence into the devices. The intelligent combination of RFID and a sensor controller can be used to initiate actions, for example, to switch valves on and off. An IO-Link master port for the direct connection of IO-Link capable sensors or actuators is already integrated in the system by default because a company doesn’t necessarily have a PLC available. There are many typical applications combining RFID and sensor. They can be used for identification tasks that control the material flow in production, as well as on conveyor systems in engineering, on assembly lines, on electric overhead tracks or in all areas of intralogistics. Additional tasks can be solved autonomously in a system, for example, the simple signal processing on-site or the switch control on the conveyor line. Another application is the display of test results right by the assembly workplace. A multi-coloured light signal could be connected without additional wiring costs to verify the state of the product.

Letzte Änderung am Donnerstag, 18 Juni 2015 13:02
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