SICK shrinks UHF RFID read/writing

SICK has launched what it claims to be the smallest industrial UHF RFID read/write device of its kind, the RFU610, creating new opportunities to integrate RFID track and trace capability in automated machines and mobile vehicles in warehousing, materials handling, and logistics environments.

Almost half the size of SICK’s next-level, mid-range RFU620 reader, the RFU610 needs an installation space of just 80 x 92 x 38 mm and achieves an impressive scanning range of ≤ 0.5metres.

The SICK RFU610 is ideal for auto-ident applications such as tracking of smaller parts, sub-assemblies and electronic components, materials handling in e-Kanban processes, identifying pallets on a roller conveyor, or monitoring consignment transfers onto smaller Automated Guided Vehicles and Carts.

The innovative design of the SICK RFU610 combines antenna, intelligent control and connectivity into a single, rugged, IP67 aluminium housing. Compact and economic integration into tight spaces is therefore assured because there is no need for a separate connection box, and cabling is minimised.  

The RFU610’s in-built antenna monitors a focused reading zone that avoids misreading of unwanted tags in the vicinity, while still reliably mastering bulk tag identification, a significant advantage when handling small components at short ranges. 

Says John Charlesworth, SICK UK Auto-Ident Product Specialist: “The current global trend towards using UHF is set to ensure the scalability of RFID equipment across supply chains in future.  The SICK RFU610 offers a much-needed solution to upgrading older RFID technologies, such as LF and HF which have typically been deployed previously at shorter ranges.

“The ultra-compact SICK RFU 610 adds to SICK’s family of UHF read/write devices and completes a fully-scalable SICK UHF scanning capability right up to 10 metres.  It therefore lays the foundations for seamless track and trace transparency across entire production and logistics workflows as part of Industry 4.0.” 

The SICK RFU610 offers highly-versatile connectivity, offering both separate cable connections for power and Ethernet, as well as a single-cable Power- over-Ethernet connection.  Compatible with Ethernet/IP and PROFINET protocols, the RFU610 can be integrated into most mainstream PLCs. It also offers the opportunity for direct communication with enterprise IT systems and the Cloud.

The RFU610 has a port to allow the direct connection of a trigger sensor, if required, to initiate the RFID device to read or write to the detected transponder.  Rapid installation and commissioning are assured using a web server and SICK’s easy-to-use SOPAS software tool.

The RFU610’s on-board LED-indicator can be set up to confirm good reads in real time on the device, or to indicate, for example, the presence of the wrong part during an assembly process. Maintenance and diagnostic functions, as well as rapid parameter cloning are enabled via microSD card or USB interface.

Software developers or system integrators wishing to adapt the RFU 610 read/write capability to develop custom applications, can use the SICK AppSpace software platform to programme the device for individual tasks.

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