Turck USA's Customers Install UHF RFID Solutions in Factories
The factory-automation company developed passive UHF tags and hardware as a longer read-range alternative to its HF RFID solution, so that its customers can track assets and products.
Turck USA's transceivers can read the UHF tags from a distance of up to 6 meters (19.7 feet), compared with only up to 30 inches for the HF tags. With the greater read range, the company reports, users can have multiple tagged items within range of a reader (for example, through a dock door on a forklift), and the tags will be interrogated automatically, thereby saving workers time that they may otherwise spend reading each tag individually using a handheld reader.
The UHF transceivers, which can both read and write to a tag, come in rectangular versions that can be mounted either on a ceiling, on a wall or onto manufacturing equipment. The transceivers are cabled to an RFID IO module—which, in turn, is networked to a computer or programmable logic controller (PLC) via a gateway module. Up to two transceivers can be cabled to a single RFID IO module, which provides power to the transceivers.
The gateway module is available as either a programmable or nonprogrammable unit, and can manage up to 16 transceivers. The nonprogrammable version simply receives the data read by the transceiver, and pushes that information onto the PLC or computer; the PLC can also trigger write commands to the transceiver. A user can then decide whether to integrate that data with a management system, or simply to store it on a PLC. The programmable version, in contrast, can also be configured to provide a higher level of data to the PLC or computer—based on instructions such as issuing an alert in the event that something is not found at its expected location.
Turck's software enables users to store and interpret the read data, and to trigger events, such as writing to tags (whether UHF or HF). "Whatever network protocol being used," Boudjouk states, "we can provide seamless integration."
Some of Turck USA's customers began piloting the UHF technology as long as a year ago, and a few of those pilots have since transitioned into permanent deployments. To date, Boudjouk reports, most users have been automotive manufacturers, though these companies have asked not to be named in this story. Some of Turck USA's customers currently utilizing its HF solutions in other industries, such as pharmaceuticals, may opt to employ passive UHF tags on some of their assets or products. Because there is still interest in using existing HF technology, he says, Turck is continuing to develop HF solutions, with a focus on increasing the range of HF technology up to 1 meter (3.3 feet). In the case of UHF technology, the company intends to offer tags and transceivers in additional sizes, in order to accommodate the required form factors.
Login and post your comment!
Not a member?
Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!
SEND IT YOUR WAY
RFID JOURNAL EVENTS
ASK THE EXPERTS
Simply enter a question for our experts.