SEP-OCT 2017

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INTECH SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 21 FACTORY AUTOMATION may need to be changed. This stage is critical for efficiency and system reli- ability in the final deployment. A successful RFID system can expo- nentially increase productivity, pre- dict and prevent errors, and minimize downtime. Make sure to consider all aspects—from specific use cases, to the ROI the solution will bring, to all the hardware and software compo - nents—to gain all the benefits RFID has to offer. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ed Garstkiewicz (Edmund.Garstkiewicz@ is a business development manager for HARTING, Inc., of North America. He has an MS in human- computer interaction from DePaul Univer- sity and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois. Contact him via email or at +1 (847) 717-9307. View the online version at tion environment. However, putting together RFID hardware and software to create a properly functioning sys - tem is a systematic process involving many steps. It is important to have all the right internal teams onboard with the solu - tion before implementation. One de- partment that is often forgotten is the IT team. The leader of the implemen - tation project needs to be in close contact with the IT team to make sure the system works within the current IT infrastructure. Proof of concept The last step before full integration is the proof of concept. Start with a small portion of the project and perform thorough testing. This allows time for any adjustments that need to be made before full integration. For example, the reader or antenna that seemed like the best choice during the planning stage pieces involved in implementing an RFID system. Understanding all the pieces will make starting the process and initial conversations internally or with a systems integrator easier. Hardware A successful RFID system requires many properly matched and integrated hardware and software components. From a hardware standpoint, every RFID system requires: l RFID tags (transponders) that are di- rectly placed on the tracked item l antennas to create read zones and communicate with the tags as they enter and exit this vicinity l an RFID reader to send power to the antennas and receive, filter, and pro- cess the data from the tags All of these elements must work together to create a reliable and ef - fective system. Harsh environmen- tal conditions, such as dust, water, humidity, high temperatures, and shock and vibration, pose additional concerns. For these types of environ - ments, special RFID components rat- ed for industry are necessary. Like any product used in a harsh environment, industrial RFID components have standards, such as IP ratings, which indicate their suitability for industrial applications. These are easily found on manufacturers' websites. Software/middleware Software is another vital component of any RFID system. There are many dif- ferent types of software packages that use, access, filter, and analyze the data gathered by the RFID system. Con - figurable middleware packages are an easy-to-use bridge from the reader to a core information technology (IT) or enterprise resource planning system. It is critical to select software that ad- dresses specific application needs. With the IT team (and an RFID expert or integrator, if needed), review many different software packages to find the best solution for your application. Integrating the system Ultimately, the RFID system will need to operate within an existing automa - Wireless RFID technology is expand- ing into hostile environments where ordinary consumer batteries suffer from degraded performance that can compromise data integrity. Consumer alkaline batteries are short lived and have a limited temperature range of 0°C to 60°C, using a water-based electrolyte that can freeze. Consumer recharge- able lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries operate for roughly five years and 500 full recharge cycles, with a limited temperature range of –20°C to 60°C, and no ability to discharge or recharge at extremely cold temperatures. Such limitations may be acceptable for consumer electronics, but not for many remote industrial applications. For example, medical RFID asset tags that withstand autoclave or chemical steril- ization require bobbin-type lithium thionyl chloride (LiSOCl 2 ) batteries that have the widest possible temperature range (–55°C to 125°C). These cells have been modified for the cold chain to monitor the transport of frozen food, pharmaceuticals, and tis sue samples at –80°C. Bobbin-type LiSOCl 2 cells also have very high energy density and high capacity, which aids in product miniaturization. Certain cells can operate for up to 40 years due to very low annual self-discharge (less than 1 percent per year). For energy-harvesting applications, there are industrial-grade rechargeable Li-ion batteries that can operate for up to 20 years and 5,000 full recharge cycles. These cells also have an extended temperature range of –40°C to 85°C and can be charged and discharged in extremely cold temperatures. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sol Jacobs is the vice president and general manager of Tadiran Batteries. Adapting wireless RFID technology to extreme environments By Sol Jacobs

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