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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
For instance, modules are available for PROFIBUS, PROFINET and Industrial Ethernet, among others. The advantage of this modular concept is that the user is free to choose the correct reader for the respective task, without facing restrictions during integration. The communication modules also play an important role in the above use cases, since they—in conjunction with SIMATIC S7 controllers—control system startup and automatically reparameterize replaced devices, among other tasks.

With regard to data management, the SIMATIC architecture supports both data-on-tag and data-on-network concepts. For both short and long distances, special RFID systems are available that possess sufficiently large storage capacities. For instance, MOBY U offers up to 32 kilobytes at a range of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet). With that solution, even complex assembly processes can be controlled. At close range, the SIMATIC RF300 is the appropriate choice, since its fast read and write speeds make data access extremely fast—meeting the cycle times demanded by many applications.


Volkswagen employs the SIMATIC RF300 system to help it manage car body construction of the Porsche Panamera.

On the other hand, if the data-on-network concept is pursued, the RF-Manager software forms the link between IT and automation. The transponders' identification numbers can thus be augmented via the necessary production data from the IT systems, which are then transferred to the SIMATIC S7 controller. For this as well, Siemens supplies all network infrastructure components required by PROFIBUS, PROFINET or Industrial Ethernet—including switches such as the new SCALANCE XR500 or CP343-1 ERPC model, for connecting the automation network to the enterprise IT system.

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