Depending on the RFID system used, the effects of environmental influences can vary. The tests should show the optimum way to attach and align the transponders to the objects, as well as the optimum way to install the antennas. The optimum attachment point is found by attaching various transponders to different parts of the object. Various attachment options (screwing, gluing, welding, etc.), the size of the transponder, and suitable installation points are included in the test to the same extent as the applicability by employees and the influences on other processes.
The following are some of the most important aspects of a feasibility or field test.
Each RFID location planned in the target concept must be tested individually. If required, alternative locations may have to be considered. Legal and internal security regulations must be complied with. When reviewing the locations, for example, ensure that all the machinery that may emit electromagnetic interferences are switched on.
Using RFID for component tracking is the result of a stronger focus on process manufacturing, quality, and compliance issues, along with product genealogy requirements in specific industries, such as pharmaceuticals.
The determination of the exact tag position on the identifiable objects is a trial-and-error exercise. Every transponder position on the object and every possible angle between the transponder and the reader device must be tested. Every possible packaging material must be tested, just like every object (product) that may be inside the packaging. Transponders are often too large to be attached to small objects, or the objects do not feature a suitable attachment point. Then check whether alternative attachment options are available and practical.
Reading speed at production belts is easy to verify by increasing or decreasing the belt speed. Testing when the transport passes by reader devices at varying speeds and distances is more difficult. We recommend a testing series over longer periods of time. But probably the most important result of a feasibility or field test is whether the application of the technology in the customer specific environment is executable as planned from a technical and economic point of view.
Solution design and pilot operation
The solution design phase deals with the concept and development of an extensive solution for the customer. In other words, it concerns the answer to the question of how the requirements as specified by the customer can be put into practice. Unlike the feasibility or field test, which basically concentrates on the selection of suitable hardware and its locations or the attachment on the objects, the solution design particularly involves the design of software integration. During this phase, it is essential to integrate the process rules into the RFID middleware, to filter and select the data according to the workflow, and to transfer these things in a targeted manner.
Depending on the tasks, extensive pilot operation may also be expedient in order to review the feasibility of the RFID concept by incorporating the knowledge from the feasibility/field test into the customer's real environment during continuous application. This pilot implementation requires the installation of the complete system into the real working environment. Unlike the final rollout, operation and utilization of the system are reduced to manageable parts, and for security reasons, no complete integration into the IT systems will take place. This will also provide the first conclusions on the load behavior and the integration of the new mass data, as well as the effects on process control, without unduly interrupting the operational process. The testable systems are more manageable when problems occur, and the detection of errors is simplified.