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Passive RFID UHF technology for vehicle identification at the BLG Autoterminal Bremerhaven | Part 2

Use Cases | By Dirk Werthmann | 22 July 2013
Vehicle identification using a mobile RFID gate unloading vessels (Car Carrier) from the US Vehicle identification using a mobile RFID gate unloading vessels (Car Carrier) from the US Photo: BIBA

Many labels, one solution

A constituent element of the science project RFID based Automotive Network (RAN) was to check which hardware is required to reliably detect vehicles with different transponder positions in logistic processes. BLG, Daimler, Opel, Siemens and BIBA performed tests identifying different vehicles passing differently configured RFID gates to find the most economical solution.

By Dennis Brandwein and Dirk Werthmann, Scientific Staff at BIBA – Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbH in the scientific section Intelligent Production and Logistics Systems (IPS)

Among the entire network 18 project partners agreed on using passive UHF technology as well as displaying the whole vehicle identification number (VIN) on the RFID chip to detect the vehicles. There are different approaches regarding applied „container formats“ used to save the VIN on the transponder.

Application scenarios at the BLG car terminal Bremerhaven

Together with Opel and Daimler, the BLG Logistics Group provided the application scenario including appropriate vehicles and requirements for the transponder position. The tests were carried out inside the weatherproof Automobile Service Center (ASC) of BLG Autoterminals Bremerhaven. The BIBA and Siemens were responsible for conception, implementation and evaluation. The testet readers can use up to four antennas each and have an effective radiant power of 2,000 milliwatts at maximum. At the beginning of the tests two circular polarized antennas were mounted on the left and two on the right side of a gate made of four point cross beams. The positioning and alignment of the antennas was adjusted to the transponder positions. The passage width of the RFID gate amounted 4,000 millimeters, the height amounted 2,250 millimeters. A second RFID system was mounted on the back of the gate as a mirror image to this construction to achieve meaningful results comparing both testing systems.

Evaluate the most economic gate configuration

During the tests the vehicles passed the gates approximately at the center with a speed of five kilometers per hour at least and 30 kilometers per hour at a maximum. Only one system was switched on at each passage to avoid interference on both sides. To allow a statement concerning the most economical configuration of an RFID gate for vehicle detection the different system parameters (number of antennas, antenna postition and transmit power) were varied. For each configuration of the RFID system the measuring results of ten passes were recorded. Independent from the read rate the result of successful transponder identification per pass (detected/not detected) was used as measuring unit.

Standardization despite individuality

Most of all, the test results are important to the logistics service providers. „We have to assume that manufacturers will choose the mounting position according to individual criteria in the future“ says Wolf Lampe, General Project Manager for BLG logistics. „RFID gates which are able to read transponders with completely different positions without high technical effort will facilitate the changeover to automatic vehicle identification within our networks through which almost all vehicle brands are transported, significantly.“

To detect vehicles by means of an RFID gate all positions tested by the manufacturer could be read on each side of the RFID gate using one antenna with a performance of only 500 milliwatts. When selecting the antenna it is important to consider the aperture angle and when mounting the antennas to pay attention to the adjustment. A standard RFID gate could be derived from these results (RAN acquisition class 1). The reading ranges were defined so that the gate can be used independent from the specific transponder positions.

Further steps towards implementation

In any case the physical challenges occuring at RFID use in metallic and dynamic environments can be faced by complying preliminary investigations as well as optimization of hard and software based on the results of the investigations. It can be expected that by specific adaption to the application and to the installation site a secure identification can be ensured using a performance under 500 milliwatts. This applies to the constantly proceeding development of microchips with lower power requirements, new antenna layouts and sensitive readers in particular. As the tests have shown, there's nothing else standing in the way of a productive use of RFID technology for vehicle distribution from a technical point of view. Questions regarding efficiency and process design now only need to be answered by the involved partners on the way towards implementation.

Also read Part 1: Passive UHF-technology for vehicle identification in the distribution process

The complete article was published in the April issue 2013 of the magazine „RFID im Blick“.

Meet the BIBA, as exhibitor at the RFID Conference 2013 organized by „RFID im Blick“ on September 10, 2013 in Dusseldorf. Matthias Kalverkamp, scientific staff at the BIBA runs the SpeedLab "Tools for developing custom RFID solutions - , Companies create their Industry 4.0 environment".

Translated by "RFID im Blick"

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2015 17:18