It's one thing to develop a cool new RFID product. It's another to make it useful, easy to deploy and inexpensive enough to adopt. Both Phase IV Engineering and Smartrac sensed a need and did just that.
Phase IV's RFID Sensor Reader addresses a challenge manufacturers have faced: how to integrate an RFID reader into an assembly plant's machinery, a conveyor system, or an industrial computer known as a programmable logic controller (PLC) that a factory typically uses to automate processes on an assembly line.
A common type of PLC input module, Dalgleish says, is an Allen Bradley analog input card that accepts a signal in a format that varies from 0 to 5 volts. Say, for example, a factory wants to install a passive RFID temperature sensor tag at four different locations on its assembly line. The analog input card has multiple terminals for accepting signals, and the data from each of the four sensor tags must be routed to its own dedicated terminal on the card. So an RFID reader first needs to read each tag to capture the sensor's temperature measurement and, based on the temperature reading, convert that measurement into voltage of 0 to 5. The reader must then route that voltage signal to the PLC input module terminal assigned to that particular sensor.
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