Reliably Recording Different Containers on Trays in Automated Small Part Stock

Miniature photoelectric sensors from SICK provide information about presence and position for electronically controlled tray management in an automated small part stock.

Challenge
AM-Automation GmbH in Offenau, Germany, founded in 1986, specializes in project planning, electrical, software and mechanical engineering, production and service for automated high-bay and small part stock technology. The company has developed an automated small part stock, in which a transponder-controlled tray management system enables efficient use of space both in the warehouse and on the tray itself. The controller requires information from photoelectric sensors to identify how many containers are positioned on a tray. When the requirements were analyzed, it was established that the sensors would need a compact size and increased ranges. Another important requirement is that the sensors must guarantee a high degree of detection reliability even if there are reflective, light diffusing and depolarizing surfaces at near range. SICK was able to offer a high performance and economic sensor solution for this.

Application Solution
The wide range of miniature photoelectric sensors includes one sensor with particular optical properties (WL100 Bright Light) that has proved to be the ideal solution. Thanks to their small size and suitable fixtures, the devices can be integrated into the automated small part stock’s storage rises, perfectly aligned and minimizing on space. The moment that a tray moves into one of the sections, the photoelectric sensors successively identify the containers on the tray. The critical effect of plastic surfaces that depolarize the sensor light (and can therefore disrupt the sensor in close range detection) is suppressed by the WL100 Bright Light. At the same time as the containers are detected, the tray’s transponders and the transponders of the containers on the tray are identified electronically and used, together with the signals from the miniature photoelectric sensors, for the REID-assisted tray management. The reliability of the photoelectric sensor signals guarantees a high degree of process reliability and availability when operating the automated small part stock.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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RFID Supplies Reliability, Flexibility and More Security

Challenge
In most applications, radio-frequency-identification (RFID) systems are used to store product and process data on, or retrieve it from, a special RFID tag using wireless technologies. Power to operate the electronics in the tag comes from the RF energy of the interrogating transmitter. When powered, the tag transmits the programmed identifying information to the receiver. But if you look at RFID tagging on a more-fundamental level, it’s essentially a smart proximity sensor.

Application Solution
A proximity sensor detects the presence of a piece of metal and knows that a pallet has arrived at that location. Likewise, an RFID system also detects the arrival of a pallet. Except an RFID system can also determine what type of part is on that pallet by reading the identification code programmed into the tag. This does not mean to suggest RFID beats proximity sensors for all possible applications, however, applications that use a collection of proximity sensors to read a code block — basically a piece of metal with a hole pattern — should seriously consider an RFID upgrade. Not only does RFID provide flexibility in the event a system must expand, it also gives more security and reliability.

Benefit
Error detection built into the RFID read operation reduces the chance of a read error. RFID also has a greater reading distance than the sensing range of a proximity sensor of comparable size. For example, an 18-mm extended range sensor has a nominal sensing distance of 12 mm, while an 18-mm RFID read/write head can read tags at 40 mm or greater. It’s easy to place the RFID read head safely out of the way of a moving pallet.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl + Fuchs in Wisconsin.
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RFID Accelerates Tool Exchange on Mobile Equipment

The simple, safe, and fast exchange of tools is an important sales feature for mobile equipment

Challenge
Depending on the work at hand, mobile equipment tools are frequently changed. This must be accomplished quickly and safely. The goal is to protect tools from damage by automatically adjusting pneumatic operating parameters to increase yield. Unproductive exchange times are shortened and lead to improved time management.

Application Solution
Inside the cab the RFID interface is connected to the onboard CAN bus of the equipment. A compact 18mm read head is mounted at the front of the excavator arm and is connected to the RFID interface using a shielded cable with M12 connection. RFID tags are flush mounted in each attachable tool or bucket and are well protected from the elements by the steel of the tool. The tags carry a unique ID, allowing the mobile equipment to determine the correct pneumatic operating data for the tool. Once the tool has been mechanically linked, the RFID tag is automatically read and the correct parameters are set, assuring proper operation and preventing damage.

Benefit
Fully automatic tool exchange configuration process for highest machine reliability.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl+Fuchs in Wisconsin.
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RFID Monitors Hose Connections

A solution from Pepperl+Fuchs

RFID readers and tags monitor hose connections
RFID readers and tags monitor hose connections

Application
In chemical, pharmaceutical, and aseptic process equipment, process components and liquids must be transported from their storage tanks to a process reactor. It is of vital importance that these components are not spilled and that the wrong liquids are never introduced into the reactor, as this could result in costly process interruptions that must be prevented.

Requirements
Small RFID read heads are mounted near the metal hose couplings. Reliable operation under harsh environmental conditions is assured.

Customer advantage
Process security and prevention of downtime by eliminating the introduction of the wrong process components and liquids.

What has been done
Chemical plants typically utilize continuous process methods. Process interruptions and errors frequently result in significant yield losses and associated costs. In order to protect such processes with nearly 100% reliability, and to exclude any human and external machine introduced errors, the hose couplings are equipped with RFID technology. A hose connection with an incorrect process medium for the current process can be securely identified. The transport valves for this invalid connection will not open and the error will be clearly displayed, allowing an immediate response by the operators. Important for these kinds of applications are reliable RFID hardware components and RFID tags that can be flush mounted inside a protective metal collar. In food and beverage applications, hose and pipes are regularly flushed using sanitary cleaning solutions. In this case, it is also important to securely separate the cleaning agents from the food.

Monitoring hose connections with RFID guarantees the introduction of the right material at the right time and assures that the correct measuring equipment is used for the process.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl+Fuchs in Wisconsin.  For more information Contact Tri-Phase Automation.

Industrial RFID F61 Reading Head for a Track Switch Reading Point in Conveyor Systems

Decentralized control of intelligent container with integrated RFID transponder

A solution from Pepperl+Fuchs

Modular track switch detects the topology via a connection to the IDENTControl interface
Modular track switch detects the topology via a connection to the IDENTControl interface

In conveyor and production systems, work steps and conveyor routes are often centrally controlled. The F61 RFID reading head from Pepperl+Fuchs forms the basis for the track switch reading point that helps you optimize your processes. Logistics processes, like congested conveyor belt sections, can continue without disruptions.

The F61 reading head even allows the decentralized control of intelligent containers with integrated, writeable RFID transponders directly at the scene. The transponders in the containers integrate all the required information, which is present throughout the entire conveyor process.

The “Internet of things” principle should be transferred to warehouse, conveyor, and production systems. All goods are accompanied by a transponder that carries information on the origin, quality assurance, and other processes and transport destinations. Write operations can be used to update this data at any time. A decision is made to select the next process step and the best conveyor route. A large antenna fitted to the track switches and work stations makes the transponder position noncritical. As a result, time-critical adjustments in combination with a central database are rendered superfluous, and data communication to the higher level is reduced. Due to the modular structure of the conveyor modules and automatic topology detection, the conveyor route operates almost fully automatically and transports goods to their destination.

Featuring an extremely slim design, the F61 reading head is ideal for integrating in machines or installing in locations with limited space.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl+Fuchs in Wisconsin.

Automatic Identification of Mounting Devices on Hydraulic Excavators

An application solution from Pepperl Fuchs

pf-auto-identification-of-mounting-device-on-excavatorsThe Challenge:
A system that can be used for fast changes of all hydraulic mounting devices on a hydraulic excavator from the cab.

Liebherr presented the latest development phase of the LIKUFIX system with a new TOOL MANAGEMENT system at Bauma 2007. With the inductive RFID system Pepperl Fuchs IDENT-I System P, the mounting tool is automatically detected by LIKUFIX during the change process. All necessary parameters are set on the excavator by the control system. The IPH-18GM-V1 read/write head is mounted in the excavator’s quick change system. Each mounting tool also contains a fully potted IPC03-16GK data carrier. Relevant information such as oil quantity, pressure, and type, or operating hours of mounting tools is recorded in this RFID chip and transferred inductively. The information is communicated through the IC-KP1-B16-LBH-SUBD control interface via a CAN-Bus interface from the IPH-18GM-V1 write/ read head directly to the excavator control unit.This TOOL MANAGEMENT system makes excavators even more economical and prevents incorrect operations by the excavator driver.  The result is lower operating and maintenance costs with greater productivity.


Advantages of the Pepperl Fuchs RFID System:

  • Sturdy design with fully potted electronics in the IPH-18GM-V1 write/read head
  • High temperature resistance
  • Serial communication allows for mounting between write/read head and IC-KP1-B16-LBH-SUBD control interface independent of length
  • Direct communication with excavator control via CAN-Bus interface
  • Rugged IPC03-16GK passive data carriers with protection type IP68/ IP69KStandardized economical data carriers

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl Fuchs in Wisconsin.
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