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Industrial RFID antennae have significantly improved ranges

10 December 2008

Turck has extended its RFID system, called “BL ident,” with new active UHF read-write heads that allows transmission ranges to be increased up to three metres. This is an order-of-magnitude increase over the previous read/write distances of a few centimetres, obtained with much lower frequencies.

Turck UHF RFID read-write antenna
Turck UHF RFID read-write antenna

At the SPS/IPC/Drives fair in Nuremberg, Turck presented new active read-write heads for its BL ident RFID system that can transmit and receive signals within the UHF wave band between 865 and 928 MHz.

The microwave frequencies allow a vastly higher transmission range of up to three meters.

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Photo caption:

Turck extends its RFID system with new UHF write-read heads that allow vastly higher transmission ranges of up to three meters. The “bubble” represents the signal to and from the antenna.

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The BL ident system already supports a variety of different read-write heads for a much lower transmission frequency of 13.56 MHz (HF wave band) that have until now delivered good performance in production control.

Turck UHF RFID antenna
Turck UHF RFID antenna

But the new transmission ranges, in combination with the write-read heads’ capability of multiple tag detection, now enable users with applications in other industries like automobile production, distribution logistics, and supply chain management to use RFID technology more effectively.

All types of read-write heads—no matter the frequencies—can be easily integrated into established automation networks over one of Turck’s BL ident stations.

They can even be operated in a parallel manner, meaning mixed operation of HF and UHF transmissions without the need to reconfigure the write-read heads.

The modular design of the BL ident station enables the user to easily and quickly adapt the RFID solution to new applications with additional electronic modules with up to 16 I/O channels.

Turck’s BL ident systems supports the most common fieldbus protocols, from Profibus-DP to Industrial Ethernet, and can be integrated into established control structures.

Lower frequency RFID head with 500mm distance
Lower frequency RFID head with 500mm distance

The IP67 housing and optional CoDeSys-programmable gateways allow the user to take the next step towards consistently decentralised automation structures without long signal paths.

Last year the company released a read-write head that has a sensing range of 500mm, an unusually large distance for the lower frequency (see last photo). The antenna is quite large (350 x 350 x 25 mm) and combines antenna and electronics in one device which makes it especially resistant to interfering radiation.

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Photo (right):

This very large (350 x 350mm) lower frequency read-write head (the gray square just to the left of the yellow carton) has a sensing distance of up to 500mm, which is for all practical purposes the largest range that can be obtained for this type.

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