RFID scanning conveyor system.
A medical diagnostics research and manufacturing company approached us with the need for a system to scan radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on their products and efficiently log their product inventory.
Using a programmatically controlled conveyor, LabVIEW software, and RFID sensors we built the customer a turnkey solution that automated the scanning and data collection of their product inventory.
The Story//The Cyth Process
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses frequencies to communicate and read emitted signals from a microchip.
RFID tags automate data collection reducing human-operator error as unlike a barcode they don’t require a line of sight to be scanned.
A product containing an RFID tag will be scanned no matter its orientation as long as the tag passes within the scanner’s read field.
Our team purchased a Dorner 5 ft. configurable length conveyor that best matched our customer’s needs featuring a Lenze AC Tech verifiable frequency drive (VFD) that allowed the conveyor’s speed to be programmatically controlled.
Rails and brackets were added to the conveyor for positioning the customer’s product to help ensure optimal scanning.
Sick RFH6xx RFID antennas were integrated into the conveyor with a 9.5-inch reading field.
LabVIEW was used to program the RFID antennas to log scanned “tag ID” signals into a CSV file, which was then uploaded directly into the customer inventory database via ethernet.
Figure 1. Left: Three RFID scanner systems are under manufacture at Cyth.
Right: The Sick RFH630 RFID antennas that are featured in the system.
System Order of Operations:
The operator begins by turning on the conveyor using the menu option on the LabVIEW user interface.
Once the operational light is green, the operator places the customer product on the conveyor.
A guard rail positions the product along the conveyor so that all are within the read field of the RFID antennas.
As the product passes RFID antennas, the product “ID tags” are acquired, read, and written into a CSV file, which is then uploaded directly into the customer inventory database via ethernet.
Products that are detected to have passed on the conveyor without a successful scan due to faulty RFID tags are flagged by a proximity sensor.
After the desired scans are complete the operator turns the system off using the LabVIEW user interface.
Delivering the Outcome
Using multiple Sick RFH630 RFID antennas, a programmable conveyor, and LabVIEW software architectures our engineering team was able to build the customer a turnkey solution that automated the scanning and data collection of their product inventory. This has increased the throughput and minimized the potential for human error in our customer’s inventory scanning and documentation process. The customer ordered multiple units we were able to manufacture and deliver through to factory acceptance testing at their location. The project hardware and software were completed within 10 weeks and within the client’s budget and timeline requirements.
The system's LabVIEW user interface.
3 x Dorner 2200 Configurable Conveyor
8 x Sick RFH630 and Antenna, and Antenna Cabling
8 x Sick Proximity Sensors
3 x Asus Touchscreen Monitors
4 x Industrial PC and Mount
4 x Traffic Light
4 x Handheld RFID Scanner
4 x E-stops
4 x keyboards and Mounting
3 x Slotted Wire Mount
3 x Fiberglass Mounting Enclosure