Manufacturing companies are already using battery-free RFID sensor tags for process automation just by leveraging their current UHF RFID infrastructure.

Process automation is in the heart of RFID. RFID technology has always been used to automate processes, its main applications being logistics – automation of tasks associated to item/pallet/container track and trace services – and warehouse inventories – now more extended in retail to reduce out of stock issues.

As explained in a previous post, embedding sensors in passive RFID tags to control electric circuits can help take further process automation and maintenance tasks.

RFID sensor system for process automation

RFID sensor system for process automation

How companies are using passive sensor tags

Being able to wirelessly and battery-free switch on and off engines, valves and all sorts of electrical circuits opens up a wide variety of applications. As an example, Titan battery-free relay tags help PREMO shut down power to a piece of equipment wirelessly when necessary.

By enabling the relay switch to be triggered wirelessly, the Titan offers to make the system simpler than a wired connection. On top of that, an individual would have to manually control that relay, which also raises safety concerns. Switching the relay via RFID it’s impossible to have an electric discharge that could serve to shock an individual if they were manually controlling the relay.

Process automation via RFID sensor tags

In general, RFID sensor tags are used the same way you would use standard ID tags. You fix them to the item you want to track but instead of receiving just the unique ID, you also receive the data from the associated sensor or actuator.

The video below shows an example of Titan relay tags and Kineo accelerometer tags running under the same RFID system to control the start and stop of an engine plus monitoring the acceleration of the engine while it’s spinning.

You can easily figure out a similar RFID system for process automation in a manufacturing line. Based on sensor data coming from your assets – temperature of an engine, pressure inside a sealed chamber, humidity in a certain area, ambient light level in a case or other magnitudes –  variations on these data would trigger a new action within your process.

No wires, no batteries involved. Just the sensor tag and the RF field from an EPC C1G2 commercial reader. Appealing, right?