Industrial RFID systems are not that difficult to use. If you use a UHF RFID system, however, the complexity is increased. The reason is because of the overall large amount of possible data sets that can be retrieved and sent to the user. Below is a video on how to integrate our UHF RFID systems into an Allen-Bradley PLC using Studio 5000®.
The Rockwell Automation software was originally and more commonly known as RSLogix 5000. The software revision 20 and below is called RSLogix and revision 21 and above is called Studio 5000®. Eventually all will be integrated into one, I think. Our RFID systems work on any EtherNet/IP compatible PLC using RSLogix/Studio 5000®. Even programming with RSLogix 500 or RSLogix 5 is possible but that will be discussed in a future blog post. If you want to use our add-on instructions, choose a software revision 16 and above. These function blocks will reduce the overall complexity of the ladder logic programming. If you can use revision 20 and higher, you also get the benefit of actual EDS file usage. Using the EDS file eliminates the need to open the manual and find assembly instance information for inputting into the generic Ethernet module. My video uses version 21, which takes advantage of both the add-on instruction availability and EDS file support.
The RFID controllers have the capability to map a little or a lot of data for one or multiple read heads. This gives you complete IO mapping flexibility. This is important because RFID tags include different kinds of data including the EPC code, TID code, and user memory. To distinguish one tag from another the EPC code is included, like a license plate, with every tag response. This EPC code allows you to keep track of which tag the data is coming from. Also, if the tag has thousands of bytes of user data, you can easily make sure all the data comes from the same tag. Picking the right data mapping options as explained in the video is important.
Read head selection
UHF read heads are country specific. When selecting the head, you need to pick the 2 m F190 read head or the 6 m F192 version. In addition to the housing style, there are sub-models required to adhere to country-specific wireless RFID regulations. Below is a quick list of parts you should select based on country.
The video goes through selecting the read head, data mapping options, and assembly instances. Once all of this information is chosen, a screen capture of me configuring and downloading the project appears. This video is a good refresher for anyone who wants to add Ethernet devices to a Rockwell Automation software project. It is one of those things. If you don’t do it all the time, you forget it.
The next step
Once you download your project, you can make a quick check to make sure the little yellow triangle, showing connection error, isn’t there. Once the communication connection is verified, you will be off to the next step, PLC programming.