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All of a Piece

The seamless integration of automation technology is key for successful RFID applications at manufacturing plants.
By Markus Weinländer
Nov 05, 2012Radio frequency identification has long since become an important tool for controlling modern manufacturing concepts, such as order-related mass customization. For instance, there is hardly an automaker that could do without RFID in its vehicle-production processes. The demands made, however, are extremely high: maximum availability of data, with high flexibility and expandability, as well as outstanding performance. Besides technically mature components (RFID readers and transponders) and the proper selection of an RFID system (with regard to frequency, for example), addressing issues arising from the integration of automation concepts is vital to a project's success.

RFID solutions such as the SIMATIC RF200 system have been used in production control for many years.

For instance, checksums—cyclic redundancy check (CRC)—or redundant data management can be employed in order to detect or correct data corruption. Also feasible is redundant storage in an IT system, with automation quickly accessing the RFID transponder data at the beginning. If a production step is then performed, sufficient time remains to also save the information in a background system. Finally, a version identifier for the data structures is recommended, in order to allow a gradual changeover should the scheme be changed.

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