Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

Tim Cicerchi

Recent Posts

Industrial Sensors: Differences between No-load Supply Current and Load Current

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Wed, Apr 02, 2014

The current consumption of an industrial sensor is a very important consideration. Knowing the current consumption of all your devices on a machine allows you to size wire properly and pick the right power supply for the application.

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Topics: Applications, Troubleshooting, AS-Interface, Power Supplies

Mounting RFID Tags to Metal

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Pepperl+Fuchs specializes in producing components for factory automation. This means a very metal-intensive environment is inevitable. RFID low- and high-frequency tags must often be mounted to a metal carrier or metal part.

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Topics: RFID

Using AS-Interface Modules in Wet Environments

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Tue, Oct 22, 2013

When AS-Interface modules are exposed to rough applications like food & beverage or are outside exposed to the weather, extra steps should be taken to ensure proper functionality of the modules over the long term. 

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Topics: AS-Interface

Top 3 Questions About AS-Interface Accessories

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Fri, Sep 27, 2013

AS-Interface was designed for factory automation.  One of the requirements was quick installation to a flat cable.  The flat cable allows a module to pierce directly into it.  If for some reason in the future you need to move the module or add another module, it is very easy to make additional connections to the flat cable.

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Topics: Cables/ Cordsets, AS-Interface

How to Use an AS-Interface Repeater

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Fri, Sep 13, 2013

It is quite well known that AS-Interface has a 100 m limit per segment.  Did you know that you can use a repeater to get longer lengths?  Unlike other industrial networks such as PROFIBUS or DeviceNet where repeaters are rarely used, on AS-Interface repeaters are used all the time.  When running a repeater, take some care in how everything is wired.

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Topics: AS-Interface

Print 2013 is Here! #print13

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Fri, Sep 06, 2013

The PRINT 2013 show, one of the most important printing & publishing tradeshows in United States, happens only once every four years. Don’t miss out. Everyone in the global printing industry comes to this show. Exhibitors show off their commercial printers, converters, and collating machines. Book binders and publishers attend to see what new technology is out there. And Pepperl+Fuchs' sensors are distinctively obvious everywhere you look.

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Topics: Rotary Encoders, Ultrasonic Sensors, Photoelectric Sensors, Positioning Systems

I Lost My IP Address!

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Thu, May 23, 2013

The IP address is a critical part of the network for industrial Ethernet devices

This may sound ridiculous. Most of us have experience with commercial Ethernet devices such as PCs, DSL modems, network printers, etc. All of these devices set their IP addresses automatically using a network DHCP server. The PC or printer name is all that is important.

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Topics: Troubleshooting, AS-Interface, RFID, Software

Calculating Voltage Drop on AS-Interface

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Thu, Apr 11, 2013

...or any long cable run

Voltage drop is something to think about before installing any industrial network that uses power and communication on the same two conductors.  These networks include AS-Interface, PROFIBUS PA, and FOUNDATION fieldbus.  For that matter, voltage drop should be considered anytime a device is located at the end of a long cable run.

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Topics: AS-Interface

ISO Standard RFID Tags Decoded

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Thu, Mar 21, 2013

RFID technology adheres to the ISO/IEC 15693 standard

The Pepperl+Fuchs high-frequency RFID system is open and easy to use.  When I say “open” I mean that it adheres to the ISO/IEC 15693 standard.  We can read anyone’s RFID tags made to this standard and anyone can read our RFID tags.  The openness of the system has allowed multiple manufacturers to produce chips, electronics that are in the tag, making the overall tag price very cost competitive.  Even though all of these chips adhere to the same standard, slight differences in functionality and features mean it is important for our RFID controllers to know which chip will be read before we try and read it.  This one configuration parameter, easily programmed into our controllers, is called the “tag type.”

The tag type is a two-digit identifier from 00 to 99 that represents a specific RFID chip type.  If you buy an RFID tag from us, for example IQC21, that tag type is 21.  The tag type always follows the IQC prefix in the model number.  You don’t really need to know what chip was used to make the IQC21 tag.  You just enter the 21 into the read head parameter field and you are done.

There is an alternative to entering this tag type as a parameter in the controller.  You can use the default tag type of 20.  The type 20 doesn’t represent a chip at all but refers to all ISO standard tags.  The read head will attempt to decode the tag type before the required read or write operation is initiated.

So this is how it works.  Let’s say you want to write 8 bytes to a tag and you are not exactly sure what type of chip it is.  Leave the tag type at the default and perform the write operation.  What happens is the fixcode or UID on the tag is read first.  This is an 8-byte unique identifier.  The manufacturer and chip type can be decoded from this number.  Once the chip is known, the write of 8 bytes is performed automatically.  Reading the code first adds about 20 ms to the overall write time because the UID had to be read first, but everything was done under-the-hood without user knowledge.

The UID is just the unique read only identifier that is on the tag.  This number is unique no matter where you buy the chip.  This is possible because the number is composed of a unique manufacturer number and a unique chip number.  Also, each manufacturer is required to only program tags with unique numbers.  No number can be used twice.  The result is that duplicate numbers on ISO 15693 tags are never produced.  Here is a breakdown on how each UID is coded.

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Topics: RFID

Why Would Anyone Want Industrial RFID? It’s Expensive!

Posted by Tim Cicerchi on Thu, Nov 29, 2012

The technology is not only expensive, but also difficult and time consuming to integrate. The normal maintenance crew tasked with keeping the machines running may have some programming expertise, but that isn’t nearly enough.

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Topics: RFID

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