RFID: Tower system integrated, scalable; counts badges for Siemens, CSIA

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., in collaboration with URS/EG&G's Systems Development & Engineering Services, formally unveiled what it calls the next generation of supply chain radio frequency identification technology, RFID PathMinder.

By Control Engineering Staff June 15, 2007

Atlanta, GA Siemens Energy & Automation Inc ., in collaboration with

URS/EG&G’s Systems Development & Engineering Services

, formally unveiled what it calls the next generation of supply chain, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The RFID PathMinder is said to deliver the reliable, real-time, asset tracking required in manufacturing, supply chain logistics, and retail distribution centers. At the

Siemens Automation Summit 2007

, in Orlando, June 12-15, a nine-tower PathMinder RFID implementation counted visitors to the meeting, designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for end users, prospects, and partners. Organized by end-users and supported by Siemens and partners, that event included more than 150 sessions, and more than 860 attendees. Solutions Showcase, a 27,000 square foot hall featuring 30 Solutions Partner exhibits as well as products from Siemens Energy & Automation and the newly acquired UGS PLM Software.The system combines the RFID integration and domain expertise of URS / EG&G with

Siemens advanced automation and RFID product technology

to deliver systems-level expertise across manufacturing and the enterprise, the companies say. "The RFID PathMinder is much more than housing for an RFID reader,” says Alex Stuebler, Siemens RFID business manager. "It was designed from the ground up to easily consolidate multiple technologies that have been carefully selected to support application specific needs.”

The RFID PathMinder offers a wide array of optional, fully integrated functionalities, including RFID reading (UHF),l-flash memory based industrial PC (Siemens Microbox controller) to support application specific software locally.  

"Siemens is well known for providing industrial grade automation and control technologies to customers throughout the world,” says Stuebler. "URS/EG&G has a long history in developing and deploying industrial grade systems in many global market segments.”

Reg Hunter, director URS/EG&G Systems Development & Integration Services, adds, "URS/EG&G considers RFID as one of many enabling technologies that can be strategically applied to realize the next generation business enterprise. The next generation business enterprise is much more competitive. It dramatically increases situational awareness, which enables proactive decision-making, reduction in work-in-process and increased asset utilization along with streamlining process and information flows. The reconfigurability of RFID PathMinder provides a system building block that can be configured to meet current application specific needs and also, easily be evolved to support process needs in the future.”

In another recent show-based application, more than 300 system integrators, vendors, and journalists received a special greeting as they entered two meeting areas of the

Control System Integrators Association (CSIA)

Conference in Santa Fe, NM. A 19 inch industrial monitor positioned at each entrance flashed the names of the participants as they walked past two RFID antennas, using the UHF frequency of 928 Mhz. The information was read instantaneously from RFID tags attached to each attendees name badge. The information in the RFID tag provided lead generation information available at a kiosk station in the exhibition area. The monitor and RFID antennas were provided by Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. In addition, Siemens Scalance W industrial Ethernet LAN established a wireless network that passed the information to and from each work station and a server."The Siemens RFID UHF antennas could read the name badge information from up to 20 feet away,” says Norm O’Leary, CSIA’s executive director, "The RFID display was a very innovative approach to greeting the participants and gathering information. The response we have received from the exhibitors and attendees has been very positive.”

While the RFID exhibit was a first for CSIA, the technology has been available from Siemens globally for a long time, the company noted, having installed more than 250,000 reader devices worldwide over the past 20 years. Siemens calls its RFID portfolio the most comprehensive in the market, with numerous applications in production, logistics and distribution, including automotive production, airports, security gates, and parking garages. "The Siemens RFID exhibit at CSIA demonstrated enhanced lead management capabilities for trade show and conference organizers,” says Stuebler. "The technology is non-obtrusive, scalable and accommodates any venue size. There is no better method of obtaining the real time feedback users need.”

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. has headquarters in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, GA. Siemens AG is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $107.4 billion in fiscal 2006;

Siemens U.S. corporate headquarters

in New York City. URS Corp., which offers professional planning and design, systems engineering and technical assistance, program and construction management, and operations and maintenance services, is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

Control Engineering took a first look at the product in April:
RFID: Integrated tower of technology

See also:

RFID lessons: Improved technology leads to easier implementations

What’s Your RFID Spin? talks about the latest in RFID for manufacturing

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