OEM machinery builders looking to add RFID support as
an option on their machine now have a potential solution that is both simple
and modular. New Simple RFID (RFID-S) slices integrated
BL67 distributed I/O system can provide eight channels of RFID per node and,
more importantly, eliminate the need for a separate RFID controller.
Each RFID-S includes two channels of RFID per slice,
and up to four slices may be added to each BL67 node. The system is IP67 rated,
so it can be mounted directly on a machine without requiring an enclosure, and
accommodates combining RFID and discrete and analog I/O points within the same
"The unique part of our solution is that, instead of
requiring a controller specifically for RFID, the user can pick their network
and then have the ability to mix and match I/O as modular building blocks to
create a system that is very modular and customizable," says Karie Daudt,
senior product manager for TURCK's Network and Interface Div.
The BL67 RFID-S slice is designed for use with
PROFIBUSÂ®, DeviceNetTM, Modbus, EtherNet/IPTM and CANopen networks. The
slice features digitized communication that allows the RFID transceiver to be
located up to 50m apart from the slice without experiencing noise induction. Because
the RFID channels all operate in parallel, communications between the RFID tag
and the read/write head experience no time delay and provide accurate,
up-to-date application information.
Daudt says if the user has an Allen-Bradley PLC
serving as the master controller and wants to implement an RFID solution, use
of distributed I/O moves it physically closer to the RFID application. And with
TURCK's communication gateway product, there is no special software required. A
configuration tool is available to set up the system and the user can simply
integrate RFID directly into their A-B or Siemens PLC. Function blocks that TURCK
has created can be used without any configuration required inside the node
itself, and all setup is managed in the PLC.
An RFID slice can handle a minimum of eight RFID
channels, but the system is also capable of handling more depending on the I/O
mix and number of analog I/O required.
Daudt says that, when adding RFID slices, there isn't a need for
multiple communication heads, which is typical with other RFID systems.
The key is that the RFID-S or "simple slice" builds
the intelligence for the card into each RFID slice. When the user hooks up
their transceiver and configures the system parameters, it only takes a few
minutes and there is no code required because all of the functionality exists
and the smarts are inside the slice itself.
TURCK has an existing RFID solution called RFID-A for
"advanced." It can handle more data than the new system, but is more complex to
configure and setup. The concept for the newer product is to take the
complexity of the "A" system, which operates at the controller level, and move
that intelligence into the slice.
"RFID is one of our fastest growing product areas,
and there is a trend toward OEMs looking at RFID, as well," says Daudt. She
says the cost of RFID tags has been a limiting factor in adoption of the
technology. But the cost has come down significantly because it is becoming
widely accepted, compared to bar code technology, and RFID is now getting into
the less expensive tag range.
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The series now can interface with a wider array of EtherNet/IP-compliant hardware across many industrial sectors, including factory automation systems, plastic injection molding apparatus, and materials-handling equipment.
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