RFID on the Production Line
less costly than a radio transmitter. This means users can make decisions and actuate changes more quickly, such as finding an item faster if it doesn’t pass certain test criteria.’

Omron’s 125-MHz RFID tags and V700 RFID reader were recently combined with an Intermec barcode system, and installed by a system integrator, the SMS Group, to streamline automobile seat manufacturing and traceability at Indiana-based Total Interior Systems-America (TISA), which supplies minivan seats to Toyota’s pl

ant nearby. ‘RFID tags were used to supplement the existing barcodes in this case. One didn’t replace the other,’ says Mike Deal, SMS’ automation and data collection manager. ‘The tags gave full traceability to TISA’s just-in-time (JIT) and just-in-sequence (JIS) system, which pre-assigns the specifications and placement for each seat.’

Deal adds that TISA’s conveyors are controlled by PLCs and SMS’ customized Core middleware, which accesses tag data via Omron’s reader. The middleware also can talk to TISA’s PLCs and its ERP system. Because its tags are reused in what RFID integrators call a ‘closed loop,’ TISA’s system enables continuous JIS verification, and reportedly achieved ROI in six months.

Omron reports that the RFID reader, software, and printer included in its newly released RFID kit can help users implement a manual, compliant RFID system for $12,000-$15,000, rather than the $200,000 that it says traditional systems typically cost.

Closed loop to open loop

Similar to traditional radio transmitters, RFID tags were historically brick-sized devices that cost about $100, usually monitored work in progress (WIP) in harsh industrial applications, and were more capable, such as having longer ranges. ‘Historically, read-write data stored on RFID tags also allowed user to build machine that functioned as islands because the tags retained the recipes and other process data,’ says Helge Hornis, Pepperl+Fuchs’ intelligent systems manager. ‘When the Internet and Ethernet beg