Schneider's PLC function block code aids RFID compliance

Palatine, IL—Schneider Electric recently introduced Telemecanique TCP Open, a derived function block code that enables a programmable logic controller (PLC) to communicate easily with any third-party TCP device.

08/17/2004


Palatine, IL— Schneider Electric recently introduced Telemecanique TCP Open , a derived function block code that enables a programmable logic controller (PLC) to communicate easily with any third-party TCP device, including radio frequency (RF) tag readers, printers, bar code readers and even other PLCs. The code was developed for Schneider's Modicon Premium con-troller.

The company adds its new code is a technical breakthrough that could save consumer products manufacturers millions of dollars in complying with new requirements for tracking goods using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. This is useful because the new RFID standards established by Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense require suppliers shipping goods to track them by case and pallet. Schneider Electric says these requirements have created severe challenges for most PLC suppliers, which often require consumer goods manufacturers to purchase costly intermediate hardware and software to allow RF tag readers to communicate with PLCs that record product shipping information.

The function blocks in TCP Open create an object in an object-oriented programming environment. The object automatically opens an Ethernet communication channel to an RF tag reader, records the data, and then closes the channel. The code block can be installed in a PLC's programming software in minutes.

'The beauty of this function block solution is its simplicity and extremely low cost compared to other alternatives,' says Robb Dussault, product manager for Schneider's new Unity PLC hardware and software platform. 'With other PLCs, you'd have to add gateways, RS232 ports, and intermediate software to communicate with the RF tag readers. Our Modicon PLCs have a built-in web server, Ethernet port and Modbus TCP/IP, which enables direct, high-speed connec-tivity.'

Schneideris the network of choice for today's RF tag readers because of its ability to inexpensively connect multiple readers on one high-speed network.

For information on other Telemecanique automation and control products from Schneider Electric, visit www.us.telemecanique.com .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor
jmontague@reedbusiness.com