Industrial RFID: New modular system integrates up to 8 I/O channels

Turck recently introduced BL ident to the North American market; it’s said to be the world’s first modular industrial RFID system with built-in I/O capability, and has new features and attributes beyond what was available for its prior European introduction.


Plymouth, MNTurck recently introduced BL ident to the North American market; it’s said to be the world’s first modular industrial RFID system with built-in I/O capability, and has new features and attributes beyond what was available for its European introduction about 18 months ago. BL ident offers ability to add up to 8 I/O channels on one gateway. Built on the ISO 15693 13.56 MHz HF (high frequency) standard for an open system, BL ident can be integrated into existing platforms, and supports Profibus-DP, DeviceNet, Modbus TCP, Profinet, and EtherNet/IP. Turck says it’s said to be the first in the industry to introduce high temperature data carriers (tags) rated up to 210 °C that can operate at (not just withstand) high temperatures.

The high temperature RFID tag is available in two space saving form factors. These data carriers require no cool down time for read or write operations. Carriers are available in a variety of shapes with read / write intervals of 5 to 500 mm. Turck says that they use state-of-the-art FRAM (Ferroelectric random access memory) storage technology, which allows unlimited read operations, and nearly unlimited (about 100,000) write operations. It can read or write data simultaneously at 0.5 ms per byte, making BL ident one of the fastest inductive RFID systems on the market. It can handle “on the fly” production speeds of 10 ms at distances up to 500 mm. The system also works with non-Turck tags.

Mark DiSera (standing), Turck product marketing manager, network and interface products, explains advantages of BL ident RFID system, on the screen and the table. Tom Wisniowski, product engineer RFID, looks on, behind the laptop.

Standard non-programmable gateways and programmable gateways are available with either IP20 or IP67 protection rating and are compliant with CoDeSys automation alliance software.

Mark DiSera, product marketing manager, network and interface products, says the product offers the fastest data transfer, a tag embedded in a threaded bolt, ability to read other tags (not all offer that openness, he says), longer than usual cable length at 50 m, free software, network flexibility, and 1.5 years of application examples. In the May 30 product introduction at Turck USA facilities near Minneapolis, MN, DiSera said new system capabilities include the high temperature tags, and tag-on-bolt option, along with other advancements unavailable with the European introduction. Current applications include automotive body assembly, paint booths, chocolate machine builders, and electronics manufacturing at Bette, Brax-Leinweber, IBM China, Johnson Controls, Mahle Powertrain, Mercury Marine, Riat, TRW, VW, and Winkler & Dunnebier.

Also now available, DiSera says, is a wireless handheld, a read-write, Microsoft Windows CE operating system device which can export data to Microsoft Excel via WLAN 802.11 or serial transfer, with read and write capabilities to get tag data from field into system.

Online BL ident configurator software accompanies the system and enables applications to be simulated online before specifying hardware for purchase. This allows issues, such as the distance between the data carriers and the read/write heads and the maximum speed of the tags past the heads, to be clarified without any complex calculations or hardware.

To see how the system works, see “ RFID: Turck offers online multi-parameter simulator / selection tool .”

BL ident and other RFID technologies and issues were discussed in a February 2007 Control Engineering article: “ What’s Your RFID Spin ?”

Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief

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