Want to know the temperature of machine parts before they overheat and cause damage? Monitor water-intolerant assets without opening the container to check each one? Detect strain in concrete? Save water while increasing plant growth in greenhouses and crops in fields? Automate the time-consuming process of tracking tire pressure on aircraft?
Passive ultrahigh-frequency RFID sensor tags, introduced in the past few years, enable companies to monitor these and other conditions, because they are not hampered by the limitations of wired or battery-operated sensors. Wired sensors can be bulky and difficult to install and access. They require a power source and can't be used in remote environments. Active wireless sensors have batteries that must be changed on a regular basis, which can drive up costs and interrupt processes.
Embedding wired temperature sensors in rotors is not an option, because it would prevent the rotor from rotating, says Mikel Choperena, product development manager at Farsens, which offers a variety of passive UHF RFID sensor tags. If a company uses active sensor tags to monitor rotors, he says, it must stop all production whenever a battery is low to take the sensor out and perform a battery change.
Smartrac's Sensor Tadpole, equipped with RFMicron's Magnus S2 integrated circuit, comes in 21.5 by 73.0 by 2.5 millimeters (0.8 by 2.9 by 0.1 inches) and its wet inlay format is easy to implement and works on difficult surfaces, such as metal parts in car chassis, says Christian Achenbach, a Smartrac spokesperson. "The size is thin and small, which is tailored to the demand of car manufacturers or other industries, where moisture detection is an essential part of quality control," he says. "The tag detects small amounts of water leakage inside vehicle compartments that can damage a car's electronics bays, cabins and trunks. Window seals, weather stripping and body seams are the primary causes of factory water leakage."
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