Setup: Characterization and test of industrial RFID

02/01/2007


In the industrial environment, RFID helps reduce the cost in supply chain management tracking tools and goods used in the manufacturing process, says Christian Gindorf, National Instruments business development manager for ATE (automated test equipment). Large numbers of units can be quickly identified by reading the ID wirelessly, without a direct line of sight, he says.

Complicated environmental challenges for RFID engineers include harsh environments and consideration of material upon which the tags are mounted. Metals reflect signals, while liquids change the resonant frequencies due to absorption, Gindorf says.

Global economies of scale can increase efficiencies and further reduce costs if the system can be widely used, but manufacturers must obey different RFID regulations, Gindorf says. Europe uses frequencies around 868 MHz, the U.S. uses 915 MHz, Japan uses 950 MHz, and the world uses 13.56 MHz in RFID systems.

For manufacturers of RFID components and systems, it is important to characterize operation of tags in various environments and operating frequencies. "A traditional approach uses bench-top instruments connected to a PC via GPIB [general purpose interface bus, IEEE-488] or Ethernet. An RF generator sends a signal to the unit under test and an RF analyzer receives and decodes the answer from the tag," Gindorf says. To characterize a tag, vary the frequencies and transmission power. "This requires several thousand measurements and leads to long test times since GPIB and LAN [local area network] have low throughput and high latency times. A better approach is a system where the PC and RF-instruments are integrated and use a high-speed bus such as PCI or PCI Express. This type of system can easily reduce test time by a factor of ten," he maintains. NI advocates use of programmable FPGA (field programmable gate array) hardware because of power and flexibility. The company's "PCI-5640R IF-RIO enables a user to create a software defined RFID reader where the operating frequencies and the power levels can be varied based on every aspect of the protocol."

Read more by searching on RFID atop www.controleng.com . Watch for the "What's Your RFID Spin" cover story at www.controleng.com/archive , 2007 February.

—Edited by Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me