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ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS FEATURE


RFID applications: the limit is your imagination... A


ccording to Turck Banner, predictions suggest that the year 2020 will witness 20 billion connected devices, with RFID and sensor data


at the heart of digitalisation and Industry 4.0. RFID technology can be used in a myriad of applications, limited only by


the imagination of engineers and designers in all sectors. Often, however, companies want to get their RFID solutions from a single source. So, following its acquisition of RFID company, Vilant Systems, in 2017,


Turck Banner has formed Turck Vilant, enabling it to offer complete RFID solutions consisting of hardware, middleware, software and integration. Its solutions allow the easy identification of physical objects and the ability to trace the digital footprint they leave. This has resulted in a number of diverse applications in areas including manufacturing, logistics, pulp and paper, asset tracking, automatic vehicle identification and rail. Take tyre manufacturing as an example. During the manufacturing process, raw materials such as rubber, carbon black and chemicals produce numerous specialised components that are assembled and cured. To ensure the quality of the final product, traceability is essential, but this requires information on the history of each tyre and the components from which it is built. Many raw materials and components from which the tyres are made


look almost identical to each other. Incorrect material inputs are possible due to human errors, and one false material input at an early phase of the tyre production can have an adverse effect on a wide range of products and many individual tyres. To help, Turck Vilant provided one


such tyre manufacturer with an RFID solution which offered full traceability data and error prevention for millions of tyres annually. The system tracks the whole production process from raw


materials to components and then to tyres. There are hundreds of read-points around the plant to track


components. Component batches can be blocked in the software and if a user attempts to feed blocked or incorrect components into a machine, the system will automatically warn them. Software collects data from over 100 million yearly production events


into a central repository and Vilant Visibility Manager provides powerful reporting tools for showing data from individual tyres, components, raw materials and machines. In another application, the rental car industry is also benefitting


from RFID. A busy airport can turn over 600 plus cars per day from a local fleet of around 2500 vehicles. In order to have an overview of the vehicle status, as well as the returning and renting time-stamps, keeping track of the keys is essential. Turck Vilant has therefore implemented a solution to increase the


visibility level of the keys’ locations, based on RFID readers integrated into the rental counters. Employees therefore no longer have to search for the right key as they have real-time information on their whereabouts. All rental vehicle key fobs are equipped with UHF RFID labels, with this


particular rental company equipping more than 150,000 key fobs in 10 countries per year. Rental counters in around a hundred of the high-volume locations (usually airports) are equipped with RFID readers for swift status changes, for example ‘car returned’. For smaller stations which do not have fully integrated RFID service counters, USB based desktop readers are used. In addition, around 200 key return safes (via LAN or GSM) have been


equipped with RFID to determine the exact return time of each key when they are left at unmanned return stations or returned at night.


Turck Banner www.turckbanner.co.uk


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DESIGN SOLUTIONS | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019


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