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Turck Offers Industrial RFID Products

Noise-resistant system is more accuracy in factories where there is electromagnetic interference.
Dec 11, 2002Dec. 11, 2002 – One problem often encountered with RFID systems in manufacturing environments is electromagnetic interference from robots and other machines. EMI can reduce the accuracy of data written to or read from RFID tags.

Turck, a global manufacturer of inductive proximity sensors and automation devices, is introducing a line of RFID products for harsh industrial environments where EMI is a problem. The equipment, manufactured by Balogh of France, is resistant to EMI.

The line consists of passive RFID tags and readers. The tags operate at low frequency (125 KHz and 134 KHz) for light to medium industrial applications. The medium-frequency tags (1.5 MHz) are for heavy industrial systems. "We consider them to be bullet proof," says Mark Stremmel, Turk's business development manager for RFID products. "They can operate effectively in high-noise areas."

Turck's inductive proximity sensors are used in discrete manufacturing to determine the position of objects and in process manufacturing to determine whether valves are open and closed. Stremmel says the RFID product complements the existing sensors because they both use inductive technology.

The company is marketing its RFID product line to industrial customers who currently use its inductive sensors. RFID can be used for flexible manufacturing, in which readers pick up data on the RFID tag and decide which way to route a product for the next assembly step or testing.

RFID can also be used for error proofing. For instance, after a procedure has been completed, the operator's electronic signature can be written to the tag. Those working on the same unit down the line then know what has or hasn't be done.

Turck works with several integrators who can install the RFID technology. The company also has an applications engineering department that can assist customers in configuring systems.

Stremmel says that Turck is moving aggressively into the market for industrial RFID systems. It plans to introduce a line of intrinsically safe readers that won't spark if dropped or broken.

"RFID offers reliability and 100 percent data integrity," Stremmel says. "It gives you the flexibility to provide more information up front and add data through the manufacturing process, which you can't do with bar codes. There's a lot of interest in this technology among our customers."

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