RFID technology consulting and development

© Fraunhofer IIS/Udo Rink

The tracking and transparency of business processes are essential factors for all companies. In order to fulfill these requirements, businesses must be able to respond flexibly and in a holistic manner to the current status of various different processes. Identification technologies are an indispensable part of ensuring maximum transparency in everything from goods receipt to production processes and trade. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) allows the visualization of entire production and supply chains and the maximization of profitability, reliability, and quality. As part of our technology consulting, we will be happy to clarify the extent to which your company would benefit from RFID technology in these respects, as well as examining which technology is best suited to you and resolving any other questions. Fraunhofer IIS puts its comprehensive expertise at your disposal and accompanies you throughout the process of deploying RFID at your company.

What is RFID?

RFID allows various objects to be identified using electromagnetic waves. This identification is ensured by the exchange of data between a read/write station and an RFID transponder that is attached to the object. Also known as an RFID tag, this transponder consists of a microchip and an antenna. An RFID reader is also required in order to read the data from the microchip of the transponder. This read/write device consists of a transceiver and a specially adapted antenna and not only transmits data to and receives data from the transponder, but also supplies it with energy wirelessly. Subsequent data processing and accurate identification can then be performed on a connected IT system.

 

As well as numerous other details, RFID technology differs from other identification technologies in terms of three key capabilities:

  • clear and individual identification of objects
  • modification, addition, or deletion of data carried on objects
  • simultaneous detection of multiple objects fitted with transponders

Available frequencies

Ultrahigh frequency (UHF)

868 to 915 MHz (within the EU)

Best option at distances of more than 1 m

High data-transmission rates

Simultaneous reading of hundreds of transponders

High frequency (HF and NFC)

13.56 MHz

Large storage capacity

Defined range allows accurate identification

Additional security features (encrypted communication)

Low frequency (LF)

119 to 134 kHz

Robust data transmission

Very low susceptibility to multipath propagation

What we offer – technology consulting, evaluation, development

With its extensive technical and practical expertise, Fraunhofer IIS can assist you with the introduction of RFID systems. We have access to cutting-edge measurement technology and techniques, as well as materials-handling technology and a complete test center for the simulation of real usage scenarios.

We can provide you with a complete service in which we address all of your queries and work with you to find a solution that is specifically tailored to your overall RFID use case:

RFID - Your key to success

What RFID technologies are available on the market? – We will be delighted to provide you with not only background information on RFID but also insights into the different options for implementing the technology, as well as information on other supplementary or similar technologies in the areas of positioning or sensor data capture.

What benefits and risks does RFID implementation present for my company? – We will work with you to analyze potential solutions for your current processes and, following this analysis, we will identify the right basic technology for you.

What RFID technology is best suited to my specific use case? – We will examine numerous different possibilities and identify an optimum solution that is tailored to your requirements, and we can then also test this solution on your behalf.

There is no suitable RFID technology for my problem on the market – what can I do? – We will be happy to develop new technology that meets your requirements.

How can I use RFID with the other systems in my process? – We will create realistic test scenarios in order to examine and eliminate potential obstacles to the coexistence of technologies in your process. At the same time, we will also formulate non-technical recommendations for applying the technology in your usage scenario.

Does RFID pose a security risk for me in terms of data protection? – We will help you to identify and eliminate any security risks.

Our RFID technology consulting is intended to answer precisely these sorts of questions, as well as others. We will provide you with a complete and comprehensive evaluation of the RFID application from both a functional and a technical perspective.

Step-by-step technology consulting

Take advantage of our full service or select individual services depending on your requirements. All elements can be combined and adapted to your wishes in a flexible manner.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

First of all, we want to discuss opportunities for optimization in your company processes, as well as clarifying your expectations of our consulting service. This will allow us to gain an overview of your specific use case.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Based on this overview, we will then address your current problem in greater detail as part of a tailor-made workshop, working with you to develop an optimum solution – for example, using RFID. We will begin by clarifying your concrete expectations of the workshop and then take a closer look at the reasons why you want to use RFID. Based on your current company processes, we will then work together to identify relevant problems and analyze the potential benefits of implementing RFID. Our workshop will also provide you with fundamental information on RFID technology and an overview of a range of technical variants and their modes of operation, as well as looking at various examples of practical applications. Moreover, we will consider any complementary innovations that you may require taking account of the specific framework in which you operate. Lastly, we will work with you to identify your individual requirements for the RFID technology in order to select the correct basic technology for you. If suitable RFID technology for your problem cannot be found on the market, we will be happy to develop new and suitable technology to meet your requirements. At the end of this phase, our technology workshop will also discuss an initial IT concept, which will provide the framework for subsequent implementation of your RFID system.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

After our technology workshop has clarified the fundamental questions and established an initial framework for the potential implementation of RFID into your company processes, we will conduct further research on your behalf. Our market research aims to provide you with an overview of the various read stations and tags that are available on the market. As part of this work, we will consider different materials (e.g., on or in metal), as well as individual range requirements and different frequencies. Based on our analyses, we will then provide you with recommendations on aspects including performance, availability, price, and licensing in your chosen countries. This will help you to identify the best option for your individual use case.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

We will then test potential technical solutions for you in order to check the suitability of various basic technologies in realistic scenarios. This testing is intended to allow us to identify and resolve any practical risks or emerging challenges at an early stage. Your RFID system can therefore be optimized in terms of its range or the coordination between the read/write device and the individual RFID transponders.

For this, we offer you an optimum testing environment at our Test and Application Center L.I.N.K, where individual scenarios can be tested in detail and in an application-oriented setting. Alternatively, our L.I.N.K Mobile allows testing to be conducted directly at your premises and within the desired application. We will then use the results of this testing to prepare a detailed analysis for you so that we can then provide you with the best recommendations.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Based on the research and tests carried out so far, we will then work with you to develop a detailed concept for the best possible use of RFID in your area of application. This concept will set out the exact procedure for applying your RFID technology. In addition, we will not only specify the choice of basic technology and the required number of units, but also check to determine whether these units are available when you need them. Possible interfaces and coexistence problems with other wireless systems will also be addressed in order to clear the way for smooth implementation.

 

 

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Even after your new RFID technology has been implemented, we will remain on hand to advise you as a neutral partner and keep you up to date with the latest RFID developments on the market. This will ensure that you retain an overview of the most recent changes and can coordinate your company processes accordingly – once again, with our assistance. We will also be happy to advise you on any problems or in the event of subsequent expansion of the use of RFID at your company.

Moreover, we will be delighted to offer you similar advice on the use of other networking and identification technologies (such as 5G or LPWAN) as well as in relation to positioning and navigation technologies. Please do not hesitate to contact us in relation to these technologies – we’re here to help.

A variety of potential applications

Logistics

RFID transponders bridge the gap between the physical flow of goods and the overall corporate flow of information, allowing seamless tracking of an object during transit. For example, the transponders on packages contain information on the destination, arrival time, or contents. In the pharmaceutical industry, transponders can be combined with temperature sensors in order to verify that the required cold chain for drugs has been maintained. In the future, the aim is for objects to be self-controlled, so that containers with RFID chips can “tell” a crane which warehouse they are to be stored in.

 

RFID tags on metal

RFID tags developed for applications on metal allow data to be written to and read from chips even in environments that are unfavorable for wireless transmission.

 

RFID in lightweight design

RFID transponders can function perfectly within conductive parts that are subject to heavy physical loads. Manufacturing information can now also be stored inside composite materials.

Production

With RFID, the journey of every product can be tracked from production to use and recycling. In the event of a product recall, the system could therefore indicate the location and time at which a production error took place. In mechanical engineering, RFID facilitates on-site engineering by ensuring that everyone involved receives unambiguous information about the component that must be replaced, allowing them to react promptly and thereby saving time and money. Moreover, the integration of RFID transponders into tools allows exact allocation to the manufactured product at a later point in time.

 

Wireless data and energy transmission

The structural health of fiberglass composite components is reliably monitored. The system relies on embedded sensors that capture temperature and stress data, which can then be retrieved via the wireless data- and energy-transmission interface.

Access control

RFID is used above all in corporate access control, as well as in soccer stadiums, public transportation, or toll systems. The technology significantly reduces not only the risk of misuse but also costs – thanks to its versatility and capacity for multiple use.

Asset management

RFID-supported corporate asset management allows optimization of inventory such as tools, aids and appliances, and measuring instruments, as well as their servicing and maintenance. The use of RFID provides seamless information about the location and users of each unit, allowing operation to be controlled and optimized in terms of cycle times, quantity, quality, and the costs and investment involved.

Further Information

RFID Flyer

 

Click here for the electronic flyer about our RFID technology consulting and development.