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RFID Traceability

How the automotive industry benefits from the use of RFID technology – from the supplier to the delivery

For more than two decades, the automotive industry has used RFID solutions, mainly for the identification of their vehicle body transport systems. Thanks to improved technology and the automotive knowledge of the RFID specialist Turck, the industry today considers equipping every single vehicle body and component with data carriers, to benefit from a continuous identification and quality control through the whole production process
  • Many automobile manufacturers are evaluating

One of the main advantages of RFID involves the user reading the authenticity features and rewriting them to a data carrier. Data carriers (also known as tags) accompany the part throughout the entire production cycle or quality test; relevant data is written automatically onto the tag and then read at the end of the production cycle. Together, with the finished product, there is also a quality management protocol available that shows all production steps of the product, as well as the quality test.

Another benefit of RFID technology is that the information is less susceptible to environmental influences because it is transferred electromagnetically via radio waves. While externally applied printed bar codes become unusable with high temperatures, dirt, or moisture, the special RFID data carriers and robust scanners allow the use of RFID systems under very rough conditions or through nontransparent media.

Rethinking in the automotive industry

High temperature tags are attachable to a carriage (also known as a skid) that transports the vehicle body throughout production. This is how the path of the vehicle can be tracked from shelling to the final assembly, as long as the transport system remains the same. The most commonly identified components include monorail conveyors, skids, or any other carriers that handle the vehicle body and larger vehicle parts, such as engines and axles.

If a data carrier is firmly connected to the vehicle body at the beginning of the production process, the body can be identified safely at any time - from shelling and painting to the final assembly and delivery.

Vehicle body identification demands UHF-system

When transport systems are equipped with tags, there are always relatively small, defined distances between the data carriers and the combined read/write heads. If the tag is attached to the vehicle body directly, the range is inevitably larger – it mostly varies between 30 and 100 cm. For this reason, HF-systems cannot be used in this instance because the transmission range is limited to 20 cm. The solution is to utilize the UHF-range, which allows distances of up to three meters.

From the supplier to the final assembly

The fact that UHF-challenges also can be mastered and carry considerably lower data carrier prices convinced many automobile manufacturers to equip the coming model ranges with data carriers on the vehicle bodies, which means that they can be identified throughout the entire process. Furthermore, in projects where Turck is involved, the possibilities are tested to also optimize the delivered parts of the suppliers with RFID, thereby optimizing the entire production process up to the final assembly with the wireless identification.

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