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Balluff introduces long range RFID reader

Balluff introduces long range RFID reader

RFID systems help users to get a handle on the stream of information in a modern factory. Objects can be automatically identified and traced using RFID – a data carrier that functions as a memory is attached to the object and allows it to be identified. Data is transferred between the data carrier and read/write head, via the processor unit, to the controller.

Balluff offers a broad selection of RFID products, and now the company has added to its BIS V RFID platform with the introduction of the BIS VU-320 reader, which adds UHF functionality. Featuring BIS V multichannel processor technology, the BIS VU-320 can accept readers in the low, high and ultrahigh frequencies simultaneously. The company explains that this would be useful in applications where there may be a mixed environment of tag frequencies, with the BIS V system helping to simplify the RFID architecture.

“A driving force behind the development of the VU-320 reader was the need to read tags at 1 to 3 feet away,” said Wolfgang Kratzenberg, marketing manager for industrial identification at Balluff. “Typical read range of LF and HF readers is just a few inches and with UHF readers the read range can extend out to 20 feet or more making it virtually impossible to single out one tag on a production line. This reader is going to be perfect for those flexible manufacturing applications where the read range will vary based on the size of the product being manufactured.”

As with other Balluff RFID readers, the VU-320, is built to withstand tough manufacturing environments, offering a protection rating of IP67. Four highly-visible LEDs simplify the trouble shooting process, eliminating the need to access a webserver or PLC to determine if a tag is being read or if the antenna is sending a signal. Because the VU-320 is a part of the BIS V portfolio, it can communicate via Profibus, Profinet, Ethernet IP, CC-Link or Ethercat. A full line of mounting accessories and cables is also available.

With a typical reading range of 1 m, the UHF system is especially suited to monitoring production processes, controlling material flow and for use in assembly plants. It is also ideal for traceability solutions due to its multi-tagging capability which allows up to 50 data carriers to be detected at once. A highlight is the integrated Power Scan function, providing auto set-up at the touch of a button. It offers automatic matching to the UHF data carrier being used, and ensures optimal configuration in any application without cumbersome manual setting of parameters. This is possible with the touch of a button on the device itself. Balluff claims the BIS VU-320 is the only device in its class in the world to have an auto set-up function. The read/write head automatically adjusts itself to the local conditions, which minimises start up times.

The read/write head can be mounted in various ways to provide optimal orientation with respect to the data carriers. The rear-side mounting holes (4x M4 and 2x M5) can be used to directly attach the device to a carrier or using a three-dimension rotating mounting bracket. The built-in antenna of the BIS VU read/write head with its circular polarisation allows it to interface with the data carrier in nearly any orientation. It is simply necessary to ensure that data carriers which are linear or circular polarisation are oriented parallel to the front of the antenna.

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